Mac Cardona moves to reinvent game amid influx of younger players at NLEX
Mac Cardona turns 34 in November, but is inspired by the likes of Gilas mainstay Dondon Hontiveros to prolong his career. Jerome Ascano

MACMAC Cardona is prepared to take on a diminished role with NLEX, now that talented rookies have boosted the Road Warriors lineup for the upcoming PBA season.

While expressing some concern over his playing time with the arrival of young players, particularly Garvo Lanete, the veteran shooting guard stressed that he is willing to adjust according to what’s best for the team.

“Worried din, pero kung iisipin ko sarili ko, walang mangyayari talaga,” Cardona told after practice on Monday. “Kailangan isipin ko muna yung team kasi success ng team ay success ng lahat, kahit pa ball boy ka pa o ano.”

“Konting sacrifice lang,” he added. “Bawal na 'yung pusong mamon.”

The former Best Player of the Conference, Finals MVP, and MythicalTteam member, who averaged 11 points, 4.7 rebounds, and 1.4 assists in 25.1 minutes last season, conceded to the rookies’ youthful zest.

“Syempre mas bata sila sa akin, ’di ba?” Cardona, who turns 34 in November, said. “Mas gigil sila. Gigil pa naman din ako, pero syempre medyo matagal na rin ako.”

The 10-year veteran known as 'Captain Hook' for his penchant to take teardrops, admitted needing to reinvent his game to adapt to the times.

“Medyo basa na rin yung laro ko,” Cardona said. “Kailangan baguhin ko rin ng konti. Kailangan i-reinvent mo yung laro mo, kasi ang daming bata, ang daming players, at ang daming players na walang trabaho.”

“Focus lang ako, extra work. Sila Dondon (Hontiveros) nga ang ganda pa rin ng nilalaro at nasa Gilas pa sila,” the former La Salle star added, referring to the 38-year-old Alaska sniper. “Kung kaya nila, kaya ko din. Walang impossible.”

NLEX coach Boyet Fernandez has classified the roles of his shooting guards, but admitted they will fight for minutes.

“We got Garvo to be a shooter; si Macmac naman has a different role: he’s more of a scorer, he has a decent three-point shot, pero mas magaling si Macmac sa penetrations,” Fernandez said. “So different strong points sila ni Garvo.”

“But for sure, they will share the off guard position,” he added.

What makes the competition harder, though, is Cardona also has to share minutes with John Wilson.

“Mahirap sa kanila dahil mag-sha-share sila ng playing time, but I’m sure they already understand that it’s for the good of the team,” Fernandez said. 

Follow the writer on Twitter: @KarloSacamos