Alaska’s veteran guard Cyrus Baguio is confident the Aces can handle the young guards of Meralco when they begin their Oppo-PBA Commissioner’s Cup best-of-5 semifinal series Monday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Baguio, now in his 13th season in the pro league, said their “we-not-me” mantra all season long is what will carry the Aces past the resurgent Bolts in the Final 4.
“Kami naman, marami kami. Para kaming Rain or Shine kasi di naman kami naglalaro ng matagal, saka sanay naman kami sa practice saka nagpe-press din kaming mga beterano,” Baguio told FOX Sports, whose team ended Tropang TNT’s Commissioner’s Cup reign on Friday with a 99-81 victory in their winner-take-all quarterfinal match.
The 35-year-old Baguio said he’s glad he doesn’t have to play extended minutes every game because Aces coach Alex Compton maximizes their deep bench, which includes younger guards like Ping Exciminiano and Chris Banchero.
“Match kami sa Meralco. Mix kami saka marami rin kami dahil may mga bata kami gaya nila Exciminiano and Banchero kaya tingin ko magandang laban ito,” he said.
“So kaming mga beterano, kapag nasa loob kami, all out kami. Hindi kagaya dati na pa-pacing pacing tapos biglang ra-ratsada. Saka marami rin kaming mga beterano like Dondon (Hontiveros) so go-hard agad lagi,” added Baguio.
Proof of Baguio’s fresh legs was evident in the knockout match when the former University of Santo Tomas guard soared high to block TNT rookie big man Moala Tautuaa’s baseline dunk attempt.
The 6-foot-1 Alaska guard said he himself was surprised with his feat.
“Akala ko nga sasalpakan ako. Sabi ko,’kaya ko pa ba ‘to’? And nagulat ako at na-shock sa sarili ko na kaya ko pa pala depensahan kasi na-blangka ko,” Baguio said with a smile. – By Richard Dy
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