AFTER struggling the whole of last season with Air21, Mac Cardona has relived his old 'Captain Hook' days as he gets reacquianted with the dribbe-drive offense.
The 6-foot-1 Cardona stood out on Wednesday night, scoring at will with his patented running hook shots to lead NLEX to a 97-81 upset victory over erstwhile unbeaten Barangay Ginebra in the PBA Philippine Cup.
The former La Salle star finished with a season-high 25 points while defying the defense of Ginebra’s feared 'Twin Towers' of Greg Slaughter and Japeth Aguilar, just like in the best years of his career.
“Suited lang talaga sa akin yung dribble-drive (offense) since kay (former Talk ‘N Text coach) Chot (Reyes) iyun,” said the 33-year-old Cardona, who played his best basketball with the Tropang Texters.
The one-time Best Player of the Conference said the dribble-drive offense allows him to get into scoring rhythm and get into the position to score with the help of big men Asi Taulava and Rico Villanueva.
Cardona, who is averaging 16 points and five rebounds this season, is also glad to team up with former Ateneo star Villanueva - a fierce rival during their college days.
“Si Enrico, magkalaban kami nung college pero pag kasama mo siya, malaking tulong sya sa team, saka maraming experience na rin siya, tapos dun pa si Asi,” he said.
But while he continues to shine on offense, Cardona said it was NLEX's renewed commitment to defense following an 81-103 loss to Talk 'N Text that proved vital in the win over Ginebra.
“Nagusap nga kami after matalo sa Talk ‘N Text, kasi yung last two games, nagbibigay kami ng 99 points per game,” he said.
“Sabi ni coach, sobrang dami nun, so ngayon, focus naman kami sa defense, at na-limit namin sila (Gin Kings) sa 81 points, na yun naman ang target namin.”