THE itch to play is still there and Dondon Hontiveros will try to use every opportunity he could get to suit up to whichever team that needs him, including teams in the Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League.
But there’s some conditions, according to the PBA legend.
“With Alaska, kay Coach Alex (Compton) and sa Alab, kay Coach Jimmy (Alapag), talagang pinayagan nila ako na may mga times na I won’t be joining the drills during practice,” Hontiveros told FOX Sports Philippines in a telephone interview.
“Naintindihan nila yung situation ko, kaya I was able to play for them. With the new coaches, baka naman nakakahiya sa kanila as well din doon sa mga new teammates if I won’t be able to complete the drills during the training. I will always be there at practice, pero may mga times talaga I have to skip the drills.”
Nevertheless, Hontiveros is keeping an open mind of continuously playing amidst strong clamor from Cebuano fans that a stint with the Niños, their expansion team in the MPBL, would be a fitting homecoming of sorts for the veteran cager.
Hontiveros was part of the Cebu Gems squad when the MBA started in 1998.
“If the offer is reasonable, I might look at it, especially if they allow me to still do my camps na hindi conflict,” said Hontiveros. “That was my previous agreement with Alab.”
The three-time PBA champion added that there was no offer on the table for him from Cebu’s camp neither with Mandaluyong, although he is aware that five players from Alab will join the El Tigre for the coming MPBL season.
“Napagusapan yun during our dinner right after we won the championship,” added Hontiveros. “Gusto kasi ni Coach Jimmy, magkaroon ng continuity yung team, na huwag mababakante, kaya yung pagsali ng limang players for Mandaluyong was ideally brought up.”
“But I’m not part of it and was not asked to join. Same thing with Cebu. Nobody has approach me yet.”
With the ABL season already over, Hontiveros is planning to go to Cebu to continue holding his small camps for young players, but at the same time, wants to keep himself in good shape to get himself ready for a possible call up.
“Laro pa rin talaga yung gusto ko,” he added. “Andun pa rin yung excitement ko eh. In fact, I was just invited sa isang event. Last time, kami nina (special assistant) Bong Go, then si Allan (Caidic), Chris Tiu and other PBA legends, were invited to participate. I was able to win the three-point shootout. It’s good to know na somehow, andun pa rin siya.”