RYAN Buenafe is bidding to revive his career with Laguna in the Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League (MPBL), eight months since last playing for Meralco in the PBA.
“Dalawang conference ako nawala,” Buenafe, 28, said when SPIN.ph caught up with him after a recent Laguna game. “Eight months ako hindi nakalaro kaya medyo nanibago pa rin.”
The former Ateneo standout got a new lease on life when a friend hooked him up with the Heroes management. But he has yet to score a point three games into his comeback in the regional league.
That is understandable considering Buenafe, who has battled weight problems his entire career, is still working to regain top form after a long layoff.
“Medyo nakakakuha na ng hangin pero still working on it pa rin. Kailangan makundisyon pa dahil ako ‘yung isa sa mga beterano at leaders sa team. Kailangan magpakita,” said Buenafe.
At Laguna, Buenafe is reunited with Jai Reyes, a former Ateneo teammate and now one of the top players of the Heroes in the Datu Cup.
“Two years kami nag-abot,” said Buenafe, who played for Ateneo from 2008 to 2012. “Wala nang bago sa amin. Kilala na namin isa’t isa.”
“Siguro ‘yung mga kakampi ko lang na ngayon ko lang nakasama, naninibago pa. Medyo maiksi ‘yung pinagsamahan namin kaya medyo kailangan pa sa practice … Lalaban naman kami, siyempre kailangan lang ng teamwork.”
But Buenafe is confident enough to hope for a return to the PBA.
“After nito, sana kapag nagkaroon ng chance, sana makabalik sa PBA,” Buenafe said.