SEEING Alaska in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup Finals motivated former Ace Mac Baracael to play his best game in a Barangay Ginebra uniform.
And now that the Kings made it to the best-of-five championship series, the former Smart Gilas Pilipinas mainstay is looking forward to meeting his former team in a battle for all the marbles.
“Nanood ako nung game (Alaska vs. San Mig) and nung nanalo sila, sabi ko dapat manalo rin kami para kahit paano nasa Finals din ako,” said Baracael shortly after the Kings arranged a best-of-five title showdown with the Aces following a 111-103 conquest of short-handed Talk `N Text before a crowd of 21,480 fans at the rocking Smart-Araneta Coliseum.
Baracael finished with 21 points on 4-of-8 shooting from three-point range in his best game in a Ginebra uniform. He had a huge three-pointer to end the first quarter that gave the Kings a 27-18 lead that set the tone of the match.
“Actually just before the game, feeling ko talagang puputok ako,” he said.
And he didn’t mince any words that Alaska was his motivation.
“In a way naging motivation sa akin yun. Dahil ang feeling ko nag-Finals sila nung wala na ako sa team,” he said. “So sabi ko sa sarili ko, kailangan maka-Finals din kami (Kings).”
Baracael was traded by Alaska to Ginebra prior to the start of the conference in a complicated five-team, 10-player trade.
“Siyempre nung dumating si Calvin (Abueva) medyo na-focus na talaga sa kanya. So ang feeling ko baka hindi na rin ako kailangan ng Alaska kaya na-trade na rin nila ako,” said the forward whom the Aces picked as the No. 6 overall selection during the 2011 rookie draft.
But Baracael said he has no personal grudge against Alaska management.
“Naku, walang ganon. I’m always grateful sa Alaska. 'Yang mga trade naman, kasama sa buhay ng isang professional player yan,” he added.
What’s certain, he’s definitely looking forward to battling his former team in a series with no less than a championship at stake.
“Exciting ito. Magandang laban sigurado ako diyan.”