JOHNNY Abarrientos hardly showed his age when he led Alaska to the championship in the recent PBA Legends Faceoff.
Abarrientos, 49, scored the game-winning fastbreak lay-up in the Milkmen's 77-75 victory over the Beermen in the finals, capping an impressive performance adorned by 12 points, six rebounds, six assists, and four steals.
The 1996 PBA MVP was no doubt the best player among the legends during the benefit tournament that saw Alaska lose just one game, displaying the quickness that has always been the high point of his game during his stellar pro career.
Abarrientos, now an assistant at Magnolia in the PBA, said he makes it a point to stay in shape and play basketball against active PBA players during team scrimmages.
“Sumasabay ako sa Magnolia once in a while,” Abarrientos admitted. “Nag-dya-jogging ako on my own kasi parang lalagnatin ako kapag hindi ako naglalaro. Siguro part na talaga ng natural [routine] ko.”
Former Alaska teammate Jojo Lastimosa was impressed with how Abarrientos' has maintained his conditioning through the years.
“Nakakainis nga 'yung mga 'yun, walang kupas,” said Lastimosa smiling. “I hate to be on the other side. It was just so nice na narito siya sa side namin and we know na sila ‘yung mga main horses namin. We just want to ride them.”
Aside from enjoying the legends game, Abarrientos also feels blessed to be able to help less-fortunate contemporaries through the PBA Legends Foundation, which organized the PBA Legends Faceoff in partnership with UNTV.
“Blessed naman na nakakatakbo pa at para sa mga in need. Blessed din kami kasi si Kuya Daniel (Razon), sobra ang suporta. Ang dami naming natutulungan. Malayo mararating ng funds,” said the former Far Eastern University star.