CYRUS Baguio was once one of the PBA’s highest leapers and most athletic players, earning him the moniker “Skyrus.”
Turning 38 this August, the veteran wingman’s game has transitioned smoothly, now being an elder statesman for NLEX where he enjoys watching some of this generation’s young and athletic players in Kiefer Ravena and Kevin Alas.
And what he has learned in his 15 years in the league, Baguio has been willing to share to the young guns as they embark on their first long playoff series, facing Magnolia in the Philippine Cup semifinals starting on Saturday night at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.
“Sinasabi ko lang, minsan kasi pag bata ka, medyo aggressive ka eh, alam mo yung gigil ng katawan mo, dahil sobrang lakas ng legs mo, tingin mo kayang-kaya mo kahit sinong makatapat sa ’yo,” Baguio said. “Sabi ko, basa-basa lang, wag yung pilit, wag yung forced shots.”
“Pero tingin ko, hinog na, lalo na si Kiefer,” he was quick to add of the 24-year-old rookie sensation. “Ang dami na rin nilaruan ni Kiefer eh. Ang laking contribution niya sa team namin para pumasok kami sa semis.”
“Nag-eenjoy ako panoorin siya,” he continued of the man known as the “Phenom.” “Ang laki ng potential talaga maging face of the PBA si Kiefer.”
Ravena has already been compared to explosive playmakers in Willie Miller and Paul Lee, but Baguio compared his young teammate to a Mark Caguioa in his prime.
“Yung kalakasan ni Mark, kasi ang lakas ng legs nung bata eh, may shooting, may drive, so tingin ko ala-Mark Caguioa yung laro niya,” Baguio said. “Sana gagaling pa siya.”
“Pareho sila ng nilalaro ni Kevin. Ganda rin ng nilalaro ni Kevin,” he added of Alas, who hit the circus layup that proved to be the dagger in Game Two of the quarterfinals against Alaska.
Baguio can still contribute when counted upon as he averaged 5.2 points on 55-percent shooting, 4.3 boards, 2.8 assists, and 1.2 steals in 17.5 minutes in the eliminations. But he’s content just riding the coattails of Ravena and Alas in their bid for a deeper postseason run.
“Sana magtuloy-tuloy itong team namin,” Baguio said. “Sana mag-champion bago ako mag-retire, kasi yun lang yun ano ko – mag-champion ako ulit, okay na, masaya na mag-retire.”
"Sa ngayon, ine-enjoy ko pa kasi mahaba-haba pa naman yung kontrata ko eh, so itong pagkakataon na ‘to, ibibigay ko na talaga lahat, kung ano yung alam ko, ishe-share ko sa mga bata para lang makatulong at makuha yung championship,” he concluded.