By Jutt Sulit
The Most Valuable Player. It has to be the most debated award in the history of basketball. There are just too many angles to consider. That’s why people get into insane arguments. Yet it’s not that complicated. Take it from the name. The award should go to that one player whose team won’t win if he doesn’t play. Kaya nga siya MVP eh. Kasi pag nawala siya, sa kangkungan pupulutin ‘yung team niya. And yes, winning is a requisite. If a team keeps on losing, it shouldn’t matter if one of their players scores all their points every single game. He’s not valuable. Last time I checked, the goal in basketball is to win. And that’s just what the MVP has to do.
I don’t understand the discussion. Seriously, how can you ask “David or Caguioa?” For me, it’s pretty clear. It has to go Caguioa.
Allan Caidic said it himself, “Caguioa is the heart and soul of this team.” He said it. Even though he didn’t have to.
Ginebra is no pushover. It’s actually quite solid. Up until the twelfth man, walang tapon. Offensively and defensively, the team should stand on its own. On paper, even if you erase Mark Caguioa from the list, you would still say it’s a pretty strong team. It’s true. But no one would dare do so.
As talented as their lineup is, when nothing goes the Gin Kings’ way, Caguioa remains to be their best bet for a sure two points. In late game situations, the faith of the Barangay rests on him. They want the ball in his hands. Because when it doesn’t end up with him, what they get is a desperation Kerby three that hits nothing.
Mark is the glue that keeps the Barangay together. As cliché as it is, it’s the truth. We saw this when he went out with his eye injury. After a decent run towards the semis, a Caguioa-less Ginebra fell in the hands of B-Meg. That tells the whole story.
Hindi naman sa walang kwenta ang Ginebra ‘pag wala si Mark. Pero, hmm, kulang ng kwenta ang Ginebra ‘pag wala siya eh.
At this point of his career, Mark understands that he’s not exactly the talk of the town anymore. Soon enough, it will be time to give way to the likes of Paul Lee and JV Casio. But he also recognizes the fact that he still is Ginebra’s superhero.
The retirement ceremonies of Jawo’s jersey featured one of the most goosebumps-inducing moments in Philippine basketball – a fist-bump between the Living Legend and the legend-in-the-making. In this generation’s Ginebra, ‘Never say die’ exists because Caguioa exists.
Mark Caguioa isn’t just The Spark. He’s the whole ignition of Ginebra. No one deserves the MVP trophy more than Caguioa. That’s why the debates have to stop. JS
Jutt Sulit writes for SLAM Magazine and is a writer for the NCAA on AKTV television production team. Follow @juttsulit on Twitter.