Mark Caguioa was a man on a mission.
The Barangay Ginebra superstar guard dropped a conference-high 32 points, even as his Gin Kings fell short against the streaking Talk ‘N Text Tropang Texters in thrilling Governors’ Cup action Sunday night.
Coming into the game, Ginebra had a chance to book itself a ticket into the semifinals, and Caguioa gave everything he had to try to make that happen.
His motivation: paying tribute to Ginebra legend Robert Jaworski.
The PBA scheduled a jersey retirement ceremony for the league’s Living Legend on July 8, a playdate that would be deep in the semifinals of the Governors’ Cup. If Ginebra does not make it past the elimination round, they would not be there to play on the same day as the Big J’s big bash.
“Nakakahiya naman kung wala kami doon, ‘di ba?” Caguioa told AKTV’s Sel Guevara before the game against Talk ‘N Text, adding that winning is the only thing they would be able to offer Jaworski.
Caguioa, the 2001 Rookie of the Year, never had an opportunity to play under Jaworski, who left Ginebra to run for Senate in 1998. But the hotshot shooting guard was mentored by former Ginebra point guard Bal David, a Jaworski disciple, who instilled in him the pride of being part of the barangay.
And that pride has been apparent in the last couple of games for Caguioa as the Gin Kings try to make their semis charge. Playing heavy minutes, he has averaged 27 points per game in each of Ginebra’s last two matches while providing vocal leadership for the Gin Kings.
Against Talk ‘N Text, Caguioa led a late 12-1 run that saw Ginebra roaring back into the game, a spurt that would have made the never-say-die Jaworski proud. Unfortunately, the Gin Kings fell short.
But Caguioa and the rest of Ginebra have one more shot to book an outright seat to the semis on Friday against the Barako Bull Energy at the SMART-Araneta Coliseum.
Source: Jaemark Tordecilla, InterAKTV