MANILA - The fans of Barangay Ginebra received one more reason to celebrate on Monday, when veteran guard Mark Caguioa confirmed that he will play one more year for the PBA's most popular team.
The 40-year-old Caguioa has served as a bench player for Ginebra in recent seasons, and averaged just over six minutes in the recently concluded PBA Governors' Cup. Yet he remains among the team's most-loved players, as proven during their celebration on Monday at Metrowalk when he received some of the loudest cheers.
When asked if he will continue to play for Ginebra in the upcoming PBA season, Caguioa initially played it coy.
"Should I play for one more year? Si Coach Al bahala diyan," he said, referring to Alfrancis Chua, the team's representative to the PBA Board and the sports director of San Miguel Corporation.
"Coach Al pulled me aside, sinabi niya sa akin na he's gonna give me one more year," Caguiao confirmed. "So I wanna thank Coach Al for giving me one more year."
Although he is at the tail end of what has been a legendary PBA career, Caguioa says he feels as good as ever.
"My body's not hurting," said Caguioa, the league's MVP in 2012 and a 13-time All-Star. "I feel like I can still go for 10 years or something like that. I still feel good."
Caguiao has embraced his role as the veteran leader of the team, and has nothing but praise for his teammates who played major minutes for the Gin Kings in their run to the Governors' Cup crown.
"I'm 40 years old, you know what I mean? I've been there, I've done that, and there's no way I would wanna play more minutes or play more time than the other guys," he said.
"(At this stage) in my career, you don't even care about your playing time," he added. "You're just in for the ride, and it's been a ride, especially with these guys."