Cabagnot undaunted by No. 1 tag, says SMB trying to live up to own expectations
Returning after missing the last six games due to a foot injury, Alex Cabagnot hardly shows signs of rust in a loss to Rain or Shine. Jerome Ascano

A BLOWOUT loss in a game with no bearing to them failed to dampen the confidence of Alex Cabagnot and the rest of San Miguel Beer heading into the PBA Philippine Cup playoffs.

Before shifting their unprecedented fourth straight all-Filipino title bid into higher gear, the Beermen suffered a 95-80 loss to Rain or Shine in their last game of the eliminations, although they remain the top seed in the quarterfinals.

Cabagnot is still focused on the ultimate goal and not letting himself get affected by the great expectations from people.   

“We see our success to the prism of our eyes, to the prism of our own eyes as individuals and as a team,” the SMB star playmaker said. “I don't know if that's what the fans and everybody want, but we hope we can put out a good product that everybody wants to have for us.”

Returning after missing the last six games due to a foot injury, Cabagnot hardly showed signs of rust as he registered 13 points, on 4-of-9 shooting, four boards, and one assist, against two turnovers in 30 minutes as a starter.

“It felt good,” the 35-year-old cager said. “Probably timing is a little bit off, pero overall it was okay.”

But asked if his return is a big boost for the Beermen in the postseason, Cabagnot continued to play down expectations.

“I really can’t tell. I can’t pinpoint an answer to that,” the lefty combo guard insisted. “All I know is I'm here to help the team. Sana makatulong ako.”

Cabagnot is hoping the rest of his teammates make a contribution after doing so in his absence.

“That (bench support) would help immensely, going through one month of games,” Cabagnot said. “Hopefully we can go through the end of the month of March. Through the tail-end of the conference, we need everybody engaged physically and mentally for the common goal.”

Follow the writer on Twitter: @KarloSacamos