Hospitalized and all, Cabagnot proves clutch for San Miguel

CRUNCH MAN. Alex Cabagnot lives up to his billing as a clutch performer by delivering down the stretch in San Miguel's Game 5 win over Barangay Ginebra.

File photo by PBA Images

MANILA, Philippines – Alex Cabagnot took the meaning of clutch to another level.

Hours after being discharged from the hospital, Cabagnot helped the San Miguel Beermen book a ticket to the Philippine Cup finals, following a 100-94 win over Barangay Ginebra in Game 5 of their best-of-7 semis series Saturday, March 17. 

Cabagnot said he was confined at the Medical City on Friday, March 16, until late morning of Game 5, and initially did not tell the San Miguel coaching staff about his situation. 

"I spent the night there. I was just puking and releasing you know how it is. I checked myself at 10 pm and I stayed there. I was confined till 11 am so I just really wanted to help the team," said Cabagnot. 

"I didn't want to say it in the beginning because, you know, I don't want any excuses if we win or lose." 

Cabagnot hardly looked like someone who was feeling under the weather as he drained two huge buckets down the stretch that proved the difference in San Miguel's cause, capping off a 12-point, 5-rebound, 5-assist, and 2-steal night. 

The game was knotted at 94-all midway through the 4th quarter before Cabagnot rolled in back-to-back layups for a 98-94 San Miguel lead, an advantage that withstood until the final buzzer. 

While playing through sickness may come as a surprise to other people, the 35-year-old said it was just "exactly how we're built," especially when an important goal is at stake. 

"Other than winning a 4th championship, I think coach and everybody else on the staff and management, they want to be labeled as the paradigm of Philippine basketball and I think that's the ultimate goal that we're striving for," said Cabagnot. 

The Beermen are just 4 wins way from claiming a record 4th-straight All-Filipino title, but they will go on a well-deserved rest first as they wait for the winner of the other semis bout between the NLEX Road Warriors and the Magnolia Hotshots. 

For Cabagnot, there's no getting used to reaching a championship series. 

"We're as happy as we were the first time around." –

Delfin Dioquino

Delfin Dioquino dreamt of being a PBA player, but he did not have the skills to make it. So he pursued the next best thing to being an athlete – to write about them. He took up journalism at the University of Santo Tomas and joined Rappler as soon as he graduated in 2017.