CYRUS Baguio felt like his basketball world crumbled when he was traded by Barangay Ginebra to Alaska almost three years ago. Who would want to leave a team acknowledged as the crowd darling of the PBA, right?
Or so the high-flying guard out of University of Santo Tomas thought.
Looking back now, Baguio humbly said being dealt to the Aces and suiting up for Uytengsu organization has been the best thing that happened in his pro career especially after winning a second championship with the franchise in the just-concluded Commissioner’s Cup.
“Ito na ang pinaka-masarap, pinaka-sweetest (sa career ko),” said the soft-spoken 11-year veteran during a dinner tendered to the Aces by Alaska management on Thursday.
Contrary to his belief, Baguio admitted feeling at home right away shortly after the blockbuster deal involving him and two-time league MVP Willie Miller was consummated in 2010.
“Simula pa lang ramdam mo na `yung tiwala sa isa’t isa. Iba `yung samahan dito, para kaming magkakapatid. Walang grupo-grupo,” he said.
No wonder, the nephew of the late PBA point guard RicRic Marata won a championship with the franchise right away during the Fiesta Cup, where he emerged co-Finals MVP with former teammate LA Tenorio.
And now he just had another title romp with Alaska, beating no less than the very same team that dealt him to the Aces.
Clinching a championship at the expense of Ginebra, according to the 32-year-old native of Iligan City, is an exhilarating experience.
“Yun pa ang pinakamasarap,” he said of the Aces’ three-game sweep of the Kings in the best-of-three title series. “Alam mo naman ang Gineba, ang daming fans. Parang challenge din sa amin. Parang team ng bayan ang tinalo mo.”
Not that he has something to prove against his former team.
“Hindi naman (naging motivation). Ako naman, pati na `yung team, kung sino ang makakalaban namin (sa Finals), set na ang mind namin na maglaro according to our potential,” said Baguio, who admits still being friends with several Barangay Ginebra players as well as members of its coaching staff..
Baguio, who also won a championship with Red Bull, has become at ease within the Alaska environment that he only has one more wish in his basketball career.
“Masarap maglaro dito (sa Alaska). Tahanan ko na ito. Sana nga dito na ako mag-retire.”