IT could have been a fitting birthday gift for cage great Alvin Patrimonio, now team manager of San Mig Coffee.
But as they say, you can’t win them all.
Patrimonio turned 47 on the day the Mixers began their PBA Philippine Cup campaign on a losing note, an 86-69 setback at the hands of Barangay Ginebra Kings on the opening playdate of the league’s 39th season before a crowd of 20,298 at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.
“Ganun yata talaga, mababa ang batting average na manalo kapag may nag-bi-birthday sa team,” said Patrimonio in jest upon excusing himself from a group of San Mig Coffee fans milling around him to greet him a happy birthday.
“Actually, maganda naman ang performance ng team initially. Hindi lang na-sustain sa dulo," added the San Mig team official, referring to the strong start the Mixers had especially in the first half and early in the second that saw the reigning Governors Cup champion lead by as many as 48-36.
One of only two players to win the Most Valuable Player (MVP) award four times, Patrimonio refused to use the short break the team had in the offseason as an excuse for the 17-point blowout at the hands of the Kings.
The Mixers only had three weeks of rest prior to the opening of the new season, having played the full seven games of the Governors Cup Finals against Petron Blaze.
“Hindi naman pagod (ang team), mga professionals naman ang mga yan,” he said. “Hindi lang talaga na-sustain yung performance.”
But the absence of key players Peter June Simon and Joe Devance was definitely a major factor, according to 'Cap.'
“I think mas malaking bagay yun,” he said.
Simon is out with a bruised Achilles which he suffered in practice a week before the opener, while Devance is hampered by an injured knee.
“Si Devance baka makalaro na sa Friday, although si PJ will still undergo a check-up,” said the San Mig team manager.
But looking at the bright side, Patrimonio is happy with the way the Mixers rookies performed in their pro debuts.
“Maganda pinakita nung mga bao namin,” he said referring to Ian Sangalang, Justin Melton, Isaac Holstein, and even JR Cawaling.
Sangalang, the No. 2 overall pick in the last draft, had eight points, four rebounds, and an assist in 23 minutes of play, while Melton added five points, two rebounds, and four assists, while showing a lot of promise with his quickness and hustle plays.
That alone were enough to give Patrimonio reason to celebrate his birthday even in the aftermath of a 17-point loss.