MANILA, Philippines – As far as Barangay Ginebra head coach Tim Cone is concerned, Mark Caguioa is already retired.
Cone said on Thursday, June 2, that the Gin Kings icon quietly hung up his spurs after spending all of his 20 years in the PBA with the storied franchise.
The one-time league MVP and three-time Best Player of the Conference last played for Ginebra when it ruled the 2022 Philippine Cup.
Caguioa, 42, did not re-sign with the team and did not make the Gin Kings’ initial 15-man roster for the upcoming season.
“Mark wanted to really quietly, quietly retire. We asked him for a ceremony, we asked him to retire his number, and he turned it all down,” said Cone during the PBA Media Day at the Novotel Manila.
“[He said,] ‘I don’t want any fanfare. I’d just rather retire quietly.’ He is retired. He hasn’t been attending practice, and apparently, he is not under contract anymore.”
Cone, though, clarified he is not in constant communication with Caguioa.
“You’re talking to the wrong person. I haven’t spoken to Mark. But it is my understanding that we did talk to him about retiring and he didn’t want any fanfare,” said Cone.
“We’re hoping at some point that he and Jayjay (Helterbrand) would come back and give the fans a chance to have a proper goodbye. But that’s really up to them.”
Without Caguioa, Ginebra is dealt a major blow in the leadership department as it also just lost veteran Joe Devance to retirement.
Caguioa and Devance won nine and six PBA championships, respectively, with the Gin Kings.
“Joe was a great guy, Mark was a great guy. They kind of created the culture that we have on the team where everybody gets along, everybody supports each other,” Cone said.
“There’s no backfighting or fighting for playing time. I think that was established by Joe and Mark being such good people. We’re going to miss that veteran presence badly.”
Ginebra will kick off its bid to reclaim its throne in the Phillippine Cup against Blackwater on June 12 at the Ynares Center in Antipolo. – Rappler.com