MARK Barroca can’t help but recall how the playoff debacle he suffered with San Mig right in his rookie conference with the team during the 2012 PBA Philippine Cup left a bitter taste in his mouth.
Known then as B-Meg, the franchise was being handled by coach Tim Cone for the first time and appeared poised to make a run at the championship when it finished as the top-seeded team heading into the playoffs with a 10-4 (win-loss) record.
Alas, the team ran into a surprise package in Powerade – seeded eighth in the playoffs – which won back-to-back games to eliminate the Llamados in an upset for the ages.
Since then, Barroca vowed to push himself to work hard to win an all-Filipino crown.
“Iyan (Philippine Cup) ang isang gusto kong mapanalunan, yung All-Filipino kasi, ever since pumasok kami, contender kami sa Philippine Cup. Eh akala namin makukuha yun nung 2012. Eh na out kami,” recalled the soft-spoken playmaker.
And so given yet another opportunity, the Zamboanga native guard didn’t let this one slip away.
Barroca exploded for a game-high 24 points, including eight straight points in the dying minutes of Game Six of this year’s Philippine Cup Finals to preserve san Mig’s 93-87 win over Rain or Shine and clinched the title series, 4-2.
The diminutive former Far Eastern University standout was San Mig’s biggest hero, letting his game do much of the talking while letting his more illustrious teammates led by two-time league MVP James Yap, Peter June Simon, and Marc Pingris get the spotlight
Still, Barroca went on to average 13.5 points, 3.8 assists, 2.6 rebounds and 1.3 steals in the title series to run away with the PBA Press Corps-Papa John’s Pizza Finals MVP award.
Cone said Barroca was the type of player who will never quit even though he may commit a mistake or two during a game.
“He never quits. I mean, I love it when he makes a mistake. He will go 200 percent the next time,” said the San Mig coach of his prized playmaker.
"It’s so rare to see that type of player, but Mark? Never, whenever he makes mistake, boom, he gets back at it again, next play, next play, next play.”