MANILA, Philippines – Dondon Hontiveros may be done with the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA), but his basketball journey is not over yet.
The Cebuano hotshot made a quiet exit from the PBA last month, playing his final game for an Alaska team that underwhelmed in the season-ending Governors' Cup.
On Tuesday, it was announced that Hontiveros is now a part of the Alab Pilipinas team that will compete in the ASEAN Basketball League (ABL).
For the 40-year-old Hontiveros, his inclusion in Alab's roster means that in a way, his career has come full circle.
"If maalala niyo, 20 or 19 years ago, I started in a home-and-away format also, with the MBA," he noted, referring to the Metropolitan Basketball Association. "And to have a chance to do it again, in a bigger region, na-excite ako."
Hontiveros first made a name for himself as the star of the Cebu Gems, before eventually making his way to the PBA as a direct hire of Tanduay. He went on to win two PBA titles with San Miguel Beer, and one with Alaska, and was a 13-time All-Star.
Hontiveros admitted that he had his sights set on the ABL almost as soon as his PBA career ended last September.
"Sinabi ko sa agent ko nab aka pwede mo kausapin sila Charlie (Dy) and sila Jimmy (Alapag)," said Hontiveros. "A few days after, nakausap ko si Charlie and Jimmy, and they told me na mag-start na pala ang ABL ng November."
"I was thinking na January pa so I have time to relax and I have time to go on vacation, pero maganda na rin, kasi hindi ako masyadong na-out of shape," he added.
Hontiveros has no illusions about the role he plays in the Alab team. He does not expect to play major minutes for a squad that is bannered by reigning Heritage MVP Ray Parks and import Ivan Johnson. Instead, Hontiveros plans to provide guidance and veteran leadership for the young team.
"How to handle practices, how to be a professional, I'll show it to them," he said. "And of course, kung ano ang maituong ko sa court, sa paglalaro… Jimmy knows what I can do."
"I'm just excited for this opportunity," he added.
(For more sports coverage, visit the ABS-CBN Sports website.)