NLEX parts ways with Mac Cardona as former top gun left out of 15-man roster
Mac Cardona was no longer part of the 15-man lineup that NLEX submitted to the PBA Commissioner's Office on Thursday. Jerome Ascano

IT was something that was bound to happen.

NLEX finally let go of talented but troubled shooting guard Mac Cardona as the Road Warriors no longer offered a contract renewal for the former De La Salle stalwart.

The 34-year-old Cardona, a five-time All-Star and former PBA Finals MVP, was not part of the official roster the three-year-old franchise submitted to the league office on Thursday, the final deadline for teams to come up with their 15-man lineup for the coming 42nd season of the league.

A team insider relayed to that new coach Yeng Guiao is happy with the composition of the team, which only had one rookie in Alfonzo Gotladera.

The Road Warriors are currently in Cebu playing in a mini-tournament with Cardona not around.

Unless a team picks him up before the season kicks off, all signs point to basketball fans having seen the last of the man they called ‘Captain Hook.’

At NLEX, Cardona never got to show the same talent that once made him the franchise player of TNT Katropa, which he led to the 2008-09 Philippine Cup title.

A first round pick (5th overall) by Air21 in the 2005 rookie draft (later traded to TNT), Cardona rose to become one of the league’s most explosive scorers known for his braggadocio and unorthodox moves.

He was so good in his early years with the Texters that he won Best Player of the Conference in the 2007 Fiesta Cup and crowded Willie Miller for the 2006-07 season MVP honor. He was a one-time Mythical First Team member and part of the Mythical Second Team two times.

Unfortunately, he failed to handle well both his personal and married life, a factor that eventually contributed to the decline of his playing career.

After TNT, Cardona also suited up for Meralco, Air21, and finally NLEX.

Only recently during the middle of the season-ending Governors Cup, Cardona made headlines when he was rushed to the hospital due to drug overdose in an apparent suicide attempt.

In his 11 season in the league, Cardona played in a total of 424 games, averaging 14.6 points, 4.0 rebounds, and 2.2 assists in 28 minutes per game.

Follow the writer on Twitter: @gerardmos