THE sudden offensive explosion of MacMac Cardona couldn’t have come at a better time.
Scoring a personal season-high 30 points on Wednesday night in Meralco’s 103-92 win over Globalport, Cardona felt he had gotten his confidence back going to the final stretch of the Bolts’ elimination round campaign in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup opposite teams occupying the upper half of the standings.
In the next three weeks, the Bolts will be up against traditional league powers Petron, Barangay Ginebra, defending champion San Mig Coffee, and Rain or Shine.
And Cardona certainly relishes going up against the four teams especially those belonging from the San Miguel Group of Companies.
“Gusto ko kalabanin San Miguel teams. Masarap maglaro dahil sanay ako sa binu-boo. I-boo nila ako okay lang sa akin, lalaban ako,” said the former De La Salle shooting guard known as Ginebra’s nemesis.
“Kung maka-three wins kami, mas maganda pero magre-ready ako kasi sa mga talo namin sa kanila (San Miguel-owned teams), masama din laro ko. So gusto ko i-redeem ko rin sarili ko.”
That’s exactly what Cardona did against the Batang Pier as he led all locals in scoring after being criticized by his coach for "disappearing" on offense in the Bolts’ last two games against the Mixers and Kings.
Against Globalport, Cardona played like a man possessed, firing his patented running hooks, jump shots, and driving layups.
His offensive resurgence came after coach Ryan Gregorio lamented that Cardona has been missing in Meralco’ last few games by averaging a measly 2.5 points.
“Sabi lang ni coach, basta enjoy the game again, siyempre, parang wala kasi ako sa last two games. Kitang kita yung pressure sa mukha ko pa lang,” he said.
“Pero in this game, confident ako saka loose lang.”
Cardona said he really appreciated the heart-to-heart talk he had with Gregorio and Meralco management, which assured him of their full support despite his scoring slump.
“Nakatulong siyempre yung pag-usap ko with coach and management. Nakita ko talaga they cared for me,” he said.
“Hindi yung, yari na ako dahil kakausapin ako, kasi sa usap namin, sinabi ko na wala naman akong family problem or problem outside basketball.”