AFTER being buried deep in the Barangay Ginebra bench for almost three years, guard Robert Labagala hopes his transfer to Barako Bull signals a new beginning for his PBA career.
The 5-foot-9 guard out of the University of the East was dealt to the Energy Cola in exchange for sophomore playmaker Eman Monfort in a trade approved by the PBA Commissioner’s Office on Thursday.
Although distressed that he’ll be leaving the team that has become very close to his heart, Labagala nonetheless is optimistic the change of environment would mean the much-needed break that he failed to get playing as a third-string point guard at Ginebra.
“Kakalungkot kasi tatlong taon ako nasa Ginebra at sobrang napamahal na sa akin ang Ginebra family lalo na sa mga fans. Pero at the same time, excited at masaya na rin sa bagong challenges,” Labagala told Spin.ph before leaving for his hometown Cebu with his family for the long holiday weekend.
Labagala said despite the limited playing minutes with the Kings, Ginebra was more like his college team University of the East owing to the diehard fans who came to cheer the team every game.
“Playing for Ginebra is like like playing sa UE. Parang you are playing sa school mo at dito sa Ginebra, playing for the fans na nagpapakamatay talaga para sa team,” he added.
Still, he is looking forward to proving himself again at Barako Bull.
“Sana mabigyan ako ng magandang playing time at ma-prove ko worth ko sa team at gusto ko mag-champion din kami.”
Drafted 12th overall by Ginebra in the 2010 draft, the 29-year-old Labagala averaged just 3.5 points and 1.0 assist during his three-year stint with the Kings.