GROWING up, Mike Ayonayon watched Mark Cardona torch the nets in the PBA and thereafter tried to emulate the former La Salle star's patented hook shot.
He also feels blessed to have a chance to be teammates and learn from his childhood idol at MPBL side San Juan Knights.
"Grabe si Cap Macmac mag-motivate. Pag pangit ang nilalaro ko, sinasabihan niya ako na, 'Kaya pa rin yan. Tira lang at shu-shoot din yan.' Nakikinig naman ako sa kanya at nakukuha ko rin ang rhythm ko," he said.
Fast forward to now and Ayonayon has a chance to follow in the footsteps of Cardona, who enjoyed a 12-year career in the pro league, as he makes the lbig eap in the 2019 PBA Rookie Draft.
Not that he presents himself as the second coming of "Captain Hook."
The 6-foot guard has already carved a reputation as a bonafide bucket getter and one of the premier young super scorers outside of the pro league.
He's also a proven winner everywhere he went, being named as the Finals MVP when the Knights ruled the MPBL Datu Cup.
Now that he's bracing for the next chapter of his basketball career, Ayonayon is just grateful to have veterans in San Juan -- especially Cardona -- guiding him every step of the way.
"Malaking bagay na may kakampi akong beterano, lalo na kay Cap. Marami talaga akong natutunan sa kanila," he said.
Would Ayonayon also bring Cardona's hook shot back in the PBA? Only time will tell.
One thing's clear though: he's got it in his arsenal.
"Napanood ko siya noon. Tinitignan ko pa rin siya pag practice namin ngayon. Ginagaya ko rin at nadadala ko rin sa game," Ayonayon said.