HE’S a certified All-Star alright, but veteran Meralco forward Reynel Hugnatan would rather call himself by another name.
“Old Star na nga, di na All-Star,” a smiling Hugnatan told Spin.ph just before he left for Puerto Princesa for the PBA All-Star weekend festivities.
The 36-year-old Hugnatan, indeed, is one of the three oldest players suiting up for the highlight game North vs. South set on Sunday at the Puerto Princesa Coliseum.
The two others are South All-Star teammate Asi Taulava of NLEX (42 years old) and recently retired and now Talk ‘N Text team manager Jimmy Alapag (37 years old), who’s playing in his farewell game.
Hugnatan admitted feeling being the odd man out in the South team, considering the presence of younger players who he thought are more deserving than him to play in the mid-season spectacle.
“Pero nagpapasalamat din ako sa lahat ng coaches na bumoto para maglaro ako sa All-Star. Sobrang blessed ako na maging part ng All-Stars sa Palawan kasi di ko na in-expect na makakasama pa ako,” he said.
Hugnatan said he credits his longevity to his dedication to a rigid personal workout.
“Ako kasi, nagsimula ako sa PBA, naging hard worker ako. Lagi ako nage-extra, saka may sarili akong nagte-train sa akin at nagwo-workout,” explained the former University of Manila power forward, who is now in his 12th season in the league.
The left-handed MBA veteran also cited his current training at the Unlimited Sports Performance Centre (USPC) as one of the biggest reasons for the resurgence in his playing career.
“Tuluy-tuloy pa rin ako sa USPC kasi malaking bagay sa akin' yun, lalo na sa mga tulakan at takbuhan dahil nandun pa rin ako, parang bata pa rin,” he added.
Averaging 6.8 points and 4.9 rebounds this season for the Bolts, Hugnatan will be making his sixth All-Star appearance.