MAC Baracael is eager to disprove that he has been reduced into an “expendable” as he opens a new chapter in his career with Barako Bull.
Motivated after being discarded by Barangay Ginebra to give way to Joe Devance in a three-team, six-man trade this week, the 30-year-old cager is out to prove he is still in the prime of his career.
“Pagka na-trade ka, 'yun (pagkukulang) talaga yung unang papasok sa player,” Baracael said in a chat with Spin.ph on Saturday after their tune-up game against Alaska. “Parang i-push mo yung self mo kasi kaya ka na-trade kasi siguro may hindi nakikita sa’yo 'yung former team mo.”
“Gagawin kong motivation yun and para i-prove na nandun pa ako sa career ko na hindi pa ako pababa,” he added. “Kung maaari, itaas ko pa 'yung nagawa ko sa Ginebra before.”
He is expected to.
A fixture in the rotation in his two years with the Gin Kings, Baracael is thrust into a more prominent role for an Energy side lacking in go-to guys.
“Kailangan ko talagang mag-step up,” said the versatile 6-foot-3 forward, who averaged seven points, 2.9 rebounds, and 1.2 assists in 20.6 minutes last season. “Syempre konti lang yung main man nila.”
“Kailangan ko dagdagan pa 'yung effort dito,” added Baracael, who registered six points in the 106-84 loss to the Aces. “Nandyan naman sila JC (Intal), pero kailangan ko lang i-support 'yung mga main men ng Barako.”
Baracael feels somehow at home with the Energy as he is reunited with former Ginebra teammates, namely: Willy Wilson, Emman Monfort, Dylan Ababou, Josh Urbiztondo, and James Forrester, among others.
“Konti na lang 'yung adjustment ko sa pakikisama,” the Quezon native said. “Mas madali, mas mabilis.”
Together, Baracael hopes they can maximize whatever talent they have in the roster.
“Just play hard and work hard, kasi mahirap (mag-expect),” said the former Far Eastern University stalwart, who was acquired along with Prince Caperal in the trade with Ginebra and Star.
“Kulang kasi yung team namin, hindi ganun kalakas, so dapat double effort ako.”