Paul Artadi glad to put off retirement as he catches 'second wind' at Blackwater
Paul Artadi says he seriously thought about hanging up his sneakers and going on a new career path after years as a rarely used bench player at Meralco. Jerome Ascano

VETERAN playmaker Paul Artadi came close to retiring at the end of last season’s PBA campaign after spending much of his time as a reserve player of Meralco.

Now Artadi is thankful that he has put off his plans after catching the second wind in his pro career.

Finding a new home in expansion franchise Blackwater, Artadi currently enjoys career-highs of 9.2 points and 3.7 assists in 25 minutes of action in the season-opener Philippine Cup.

Blackwater drafted the 33-year-old Artadi from the dispersal pool, hopeful the experience of the 5-foot-10 guard can help the Elite in their maiden campaign in the pro league.

The gamble is so far paying off.

“Yes, expansion team kami at kami ang mga veterans dito. Kami ang inaatasan ni coach mag-lead, at medyo kahit wala kaming kumpyansa, dahil from our mother team (before), kami ang bangko or reliever kami, dito, binibigyan kami ng chance maglaro talaga,” said Artadi.

The former University of the East star hardly got the same exposure with the Bolts last year after playing for a total of just 11 games before being dropped in the list of unprotected players by Meralco last July.

“Nung time kay coach Ryan (Gregorio) before, na-injury ako, may bone spurs ako so inoperahan ako at out ako for two seasons. So parang iniisip ko mag-negosyo na lang ako,” recalled Artadi.

But his wife and parents prodded him to give it another try, especially following the entry of two expansion teams in Blackwater and KIA Motors.

“Pero yung parents ko saka wife ko, gusto pa nila ako makita maglaro. Saka bata pa mga anak ko, gusto nila akong makita na naglalaro,” he added.

Artadi is thankful for the trust given him by Blackwater coach Leo Isaac.

“Nag-go pa rin ako sa sarili ko na maglaro ako, tingin ko puwede pa naman siguro maglaro at kaya pa naman,” explained the Blackwater guard, who scored a game-high 21 points, while going 5-of-9 from the three-point zone in Blackwater’s  100-91 loss to Barangay Ginebra on Tuesday night.

“Pero ngayong nasa Blackwater na ako, may kumpiyansa talaga akong tumira ngayon kasi ina-allow ako ni coach tumira eh, ginagawa ko rin sa practice, so consistent naman,” he added.

Follow the writer on Twitter: @richava