FREE throws may be taken from him, but an elusive PBA championship may finally be up for grabs for Chico Lanete.
The San Miguel Beer playmaker was involved in a controversy in the Beermen’s 100-96 loss to Ginebra last Sunday when teammate Chris Ross took a free throw that was supposedly for Lanete, who drew a foul on Sol Mercado late in the game.
But that should be the least of Lanete’s worries.
The oldest player without a ring among active players, the 38-year-old playmaker is relishing his stint with the Beermen, a powerhouse team that can help him get the ultimate prize right in the ongoing Philippine Cup where the Beermen are the three-time defending champions.
“Ito na yung pinaka-best chance ko, lalo na sa edad ko,” Lanete said with a chuckle in a short chat with SPIN.ph on Tuesday after his meeting with Commissioner Willie Marcial over the controversy.
The Ormoc native has nurtured a steady, journeyman pro career after going undrafted in the 2006 rookie draft out of Lyceum, playing for Purefoods, Ginebra, Burger King, Powerade/Meralco, Barako Bull, Petron, then back to Barako/Phoenix.
After being unable to sign a contract extension with the Fuel Masters, Lanete tried out for one of the fringe spots at SMB and edged out rookie picks to make the cut for SMB’s Philippine Cup roster along with Billy Mamaril, and rookie Louie Vigil.
“Sakto din na napunta ako sa San Miguel, so may chance,” said Lanete, who has been to the finals thrice, the last time with Petron/SMB in the 2013 Governors’ Cup where they lost to San Mig Coffee in seven games.
Now, the veteran guard is trying to get over the hump with the same franchise, helping his team by providing quality minutes on either guard spots off the bench.
“Pine-pray ko naman lagi na sana, ito na yung time,” Lanete said. “Siguro ito yung destiny ni God sa akin na mapunta sa malaking company na San Miguel.”