IF there’s one positive thing Kelly Nabong gained after another PBA team decided to deal him away, it’s the chance of finally winning his first ever league championship.
The tough-playing Fil-Am forward found himself joining a loaded San Miguel Beer team that is primed for another championship run in the ongoing Commissioner’s Cup.
The acquisition of the 29-year-old Nabong from Globalport in exchange for Gabby Espinas toughened up and added youth to the Beermen’s frontcourt that boasts of four-time MVP June Mar Fajardo, rookie Christian Standhardinger, and veteran and former MVP Arwind Santos.
Nabong knows pretty well the reason why he’s brought in by the multi-titled franchise.
“My defense,” was his curt reply as he opens up for the first time about the latest trade involving him.
“They (Beermen) are pretty much set off as they already have their own core of players and scorers. I’m just going in here and play my role, which is to play defense.”
Hopefully that aspect of his game would be of big help as the Beermen chase another championship and a very first for Nabong.
“A minimum of one,” he said when asked how many titles does he expect to win with San Miguel. “Not just one, but a couple more.”
While he welcomed joining a proud and champion franchise in San Miguel, Nabong admitted not seeing this trade coming especially since he’s been doing well in his second stint back with Globalport after singing him up as a free agent before the start of the season.
“I really had no clue about the trade coming,” said the Sacramento, California native.
But he doesn’t hold grudge against the Batang Pier for dealing him away, saying the team has always been a family to him, most especially coach Pido Jarencio.
“Coach Pido helped me out and gave me enough confidence during the All-Filipino,” he said.
Besides, Nabong added, “I’m not gonna say no to San Miguel.”
“I felt honored that they (Beermen) came to get me from Globalport.”
Nabong said he’s aware his temper has been an issue with the teams he previously played for in the past. And San Miguel talked to him about that the moment he came on board the team.
“Of course (we talked about it),” he said. “Yes, I have a quick temper but it’s nothing personal about the player or the team. It’s actually more about the game.
“But you know, it’s hard to be mad when you’re winning,” added Nabong with a smile.