MANILA, Philippines – Last hurrah on hold.
PBA veteran Cyrus Baguio had decided to postpone his retirement to chase the elusive Philippine Cup title, but his swan song has been delayed as the league suspended its season due to the coronavirus.
“I want to end my career on a fitting exit. It would be great if we reach the finals or win the championship,” Baguio said in Filipino, baring he asked NLEX coach Yeng Guiao if he could play for one final conference.
But even before Baguio stepped on the hardcourt for his last conference, the PBA had to cancel its games to prevent the spread of the virus that has infected over 200,000 and killed nearly 9,000 worldwide.
PBA commissioner Willie Marcial estimated the suspension will last for at least two months, which is half of the time for an entire conference to finish.
As soon as the PBA season returns, though, Baguiao has his sights set on the All-Filipino crown, believing NLEX has a shot at winning the grand prize.
NLEX finished the elimination round in the Governors’ Cup last season with the best record and is expected to contend in the Philippine Cup.
Baguio, who has 3 PBA championships under his belt, came close to nailing the All-Filipino title several times.
He and Barako Bull fell short of the crown to Purefoods in 2006. Nine years later, he once again failed to bag the prestigious hardware when Alaska succumbed to San Miguel in 7 games in 2015.
But his most painful Philippine Cup finals heartbreak came in 2016 as Alaska squandered a commanding 3-0 lead that paved the way for San Miguel to complete what is famously known as the “Beeracle.”
“I had a lot of heartbreaks. That’s why I asked coach Yeng [if I could] play [for one more conference],” Baguio said.
Although he has no serious injuries and can still produce decent numbers, Baguiao said he is far from the player who sank acrobatic shots and slammed home dunks with ease, earning him the moniker “Skyrus.”
“My body doesn’t feel the same,” said the former 14th overall pick. “Many of my batchmates are already out of the league.”
Only Baguio, Harvey Carey of TNT, and Reynel Hugnatan of Meralco have active contracts from the 2003 draft class.
Baguio added he does not want to hold on to his roster spot, especially with NLEX having a bevy of young and talented guards in its lineup.
“I want to give it to the younger players because I’ve been playing for years. It’s their time now.” – Rappler.com
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