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    Journeyman Gabby Espinas feels at home as he joins SMB team that drafted him in 2006

    Apr 10, 2015

    HE’S already so used to getting traded that he was almost numb upon learning of his latest move in the PBA.

    Don’t blame Gabby Espinas for feeling that way after the dependable power forward was shipped anew to San Miguel Beer last Monday —less than a month after moving from Alaska to GlobalPort.

    “Siguro manhid na,” the 33-year-old journeyman said in a phone conversation with on Friday night after San Miguel Beer’s running/conditioning session at the Philsports Arena. “Inisip ko na lang na part ng trabaho talaga ‘to.”

    Traded by Alaska for GlobalPort's Noy Baclao last March 14, Espinas became part of a six-player, four-team deal that sent him to the Beermen last April 6, making SMB his seventh team in his nine years in the league.

    “At least hindi ko pa nadaanan lahat ng team,” he said with a laugh.

    Another silver lining for Espinas is that his career has come full circle as he returns to the team that drafted him with the fifth overall pick in 2006.

    “Buti na lang San Miguel ulit,” the Olongapo native said. “Buti na lang may tiwala pa sila sa akin. Gusto pa nila ako maging part ng sistema nila.”

    “So masaya rin ako kasi kahit ilang beses ako na-trade, meron pa rin nagtitiwala sa akin,” he added.

    [See SMB gets Espinas, Yancy de Ocampo in four-team trade]

    It crossed his mind, however, that his services may no longer be needed by his previous teams.

    “Siguro yung mga nag-trade sa akin, wala na silang tiwala sa akin. Pero ‘wag naman sana ganun ang dahilan."

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    “Siguro may purpose si God para sa akin,” the former NCAA MVP out of Philippine Christian University was quick to add. “Hindi ka naman kukunin ng team kung hindi ka nila kailangan. Ganun na lang mindset ko.”

    “Wala ng negative, wala ng sama ng loob kung bakit ka na-trade. Matanda na rin ako.”

    While not saying it out loud, Espinas did admit of being tired of all the moves that require adjustments, although he refuses to show it — especially in his line of work.

    “Kasi sa trabaho namin, bawal mapagod eh. Basta player ka, kailangan ni-re-ready mo sarili mo sa mga ganitong sitwasyon.”

    “Pero sana ito na yung last (stop) kasi dito ako nangaling, dito ako nagsimula. Sana dito na ako matapos.”

    [See Alaska trades Gabby Espinas for GlobalPort big man Noy Baclao]

    Now back with his first team, Espinas seeks to just live up to whatever role coach Leo Austria requires of him.

    “Hindi naman ako star player. Ako, magawa ko lang 'yung role ko, masaya na ako dun,” the 6-foot-4 southpaw slotman said. “Marami ng star sa team na ‘to.”

    Asked if he could be the missing piece for a new San Miguel dynasty, Espinas said he hopes so.

    “Sana. Kung pwede, bakit hindi. Tagal ko na rin hindi nag-cha-champion. Willing naman ako gawin lahat.”

    For now, he is glad to have a smooth transition as he’s reunited with former teammates Arwind Santos (Air21), Chris Ross (Meralco), and Bitoy Omolon (Sta. Lucia).

    “At home na at home na,” said Espinas, who has been practicing with the Beermen since Monday.

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