MIKE DiGregorio is now with a new team. Well, sort of.
When the 31-year-old DiGregorio begins his second stint with Blackwater in the PBA Governors’ Cup, he will see that a lot has changed since the last time he was with the franchise. The team, for one, was still known as Elite back then, but he'll see some things are familiari upon his return to the Bossing.
A couple of players of Blackwater now were even his former teammates at Alaska.
“It’s good to be back,” said DiGregorio. “Like you said, new team but not really. Because I was here two, three years before. A lot of familiar faces. A lot of the same ball boys. A lot of the same assistant coaches. Even coach AV (Ariel Vanguardia) was here the last time when I was here as a consultant.”
“It’s still good. The transition is easy knowing a lot of these guys. And even some of the players with Alaska – Kuya JVee [Casio], Yousef (Taha), and Gab (Banal), and all of these guys,” said DiGregorio.
DiGregorio made his way back to Blackwater after a trade where the Bossing were also able to acquire RK Ilagan and Tyrus Hill from Converge in exchange for Barkley Ebona and future draft picks.
Four years after his initial run with Blackwater where his PBA career blossomed, DiGregorio said his role will be more of the same.
“It’s going to be the same. Having spoken to coach AV, he has a lot of trust in me. He believes in me. That’s what you can ask for in a coach. You run through a wall for someone like that … Like I said, he was here the last time I was here. He knows what I’m capable of and what I thought I can do,” said DiGregorio.
DiGregorio said he always have fond memories of his stint with Blackwater particularly in the 2017 Governors’ Cup where the eighth-seeded Elite nearly pulled off an upset over top-ranked Meralco in the quarterfinals.
“That was 2017 where I had my big break in the PBA. That Governors’ Cup, we were like three minutes away from the semis with Henry Walker. Meralco had a twice-to-beat [edge] and we won the first game and we were up [in the second game]. We were really, really close to make it to the semifinals.”
“It was an exciting time. I averaged liked 15, 16 points a game in the Governors’ Cup. That 2017 season, I was runner-up to the Most Improved Player award. So it was memorable for a lot of reasons. I’m very grateful and thankful for Blackwater for giving me the opportunity,” said DiGregorio.