Tuesday, September 3, 2013

From hate to love. An ode to Mark Caguioa. By JC Pelagio

I caught the Mark Caguioa hate-bug in 2001. 

He was a virtual unknown in Philippine basketball but he acted as if he was not.

I remember hating him whenever he came in for Bal David in crucial fourth quarter scenarios.

I remember hating his guts when he went straight inside the paint with big men waiting to rain on his parade. 

I remember hating his then blonde-anong-gupit-yan hairstyle. 

I remember hating his unbridled love for the ball, wanting to hold it as much as he can. 

That was until I saw him on the eve of my 15th birthday. 

I still vividly remember how my totally-composed-facade crumbled in a matter of seconds. I recall how I let out a gleeful fangirl cackle when I saw MC47 inside the PhilSports Arena. 

Was it possible? All my hate turned into love by just a glimpse? (Okay fine. It was more like a stare.)

The more I kept brushing off this thought, the more Caguioa continued to wow me with his and-one fancy shots. I thought to myself, damn, this man is too good to hate.

That night he stared into my eyes (or was it the other way around), I came up with several realizations:

Mark Caguioa comes in for Bal David because he can actually contribute in a game, bringing with him an arsenal of jumpers and acrobatic lay-ups.

He has the guts to challenge big men because he is smart enough to create escape routes out of a defensive maze.

He loves the ball in his hands because he can orchestrate plays and shoot big baskets when he has to.

Fast forward to today, I believe my realizations still hold true.  

You know what makes me love Caguioa even more? His walang-keme-honesty. During a halftime television interview in a game against GlobalPort (Ginebra was then in a losing slump at the start of the Chualay Era), he said, “Parang pugot ulo ang laro namin eh”. 

You know why my love for Caguioa never fades? Because his walang-keme-honesty also never fades:

Just like Ginebra which emerged victorious after defeating Red Bull (sorry Tony Lang) on the eve of my 15th birthday, I felt like a winner too. I found a worthy, lifetime recipient of My Favorite Basketball Player Award. 

Let me end this fangirl-ing by another fangirl-ing thought: my admiration for MC47 is like the ongoing status of my tweeting-@officialMC47-until-I-get-a-reply project: ENDLESS. Frustrating at times but yes, endless. JCP

You can follow @_jcpelagio on Twitter. 

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