They won't call him the ‘Spark’ for nothing

October 06, 2018

WELL, we’re all 17 years younger today.

Michael Jordan came out of retirement after only three and a half years to play again for the Washington Wizards in the NBA.

Tiger Woods became the first golfer in history to win all four major championship titles at the same time; the Arizona Diamondbacks became the youngest franchise to win a World Series by defeating the New York Yankees, 4-3. and seven-time champion Dale Earnhardt died in a last-lap crash at the Daytona 500.

In the PBA,  Mark “The Spark” Caguioa was selected as No. 3 pick overall by crowd darling Barangay Ginebra in 2001.

Only Willie Miller (Red Bull) and Mike Hrabak (Shell) were  chosen ahead of him

Seventeen  years later -- Oct. 5 --  Caguioa did  something that basketball fans will remember most: he became only the 16th player to score 10,000 points and joined an elite club composed of the best and the brightest in Asia’s first play-for-pay league.

“To join all the other players who did it before me, it’s a big honor for me,” Caguioa told sportswriters who witnessed a piece of history in this side of the basketball universe.

“And to do it for only one team Ginebra, I’m truly thankful,” added the now 38-year-old Caguioa, also known as other half of the popular “The Fast and the Furious” tandem, along with long-time backcourt partner Jayjay Helterbrand.

The 6-1 Fil-Am guard from San Juan joined the elite PBA 10,000-point club after knocking down a jumper with exactly 1:06 left in Ginebra’s 106-92 victory over NLEX.

He missed four consecutive attempts before connecting on a mid-range shot off an assist from Scottie Thompson that drew an ovation from both his teammates and the crowd.

Before that, Caguioa scored 14 points, including eight during a red-hot performance in the third period.

But he was still two points short of the milestone.

With fans chanting his name, Ginebra coach Tim Cone inserted him back to the floor in the final four minutes to complete his unfinished business.   

Said Cone: “I’m honored to be part of Mark Caguioa’s 10,000th point. He’s got a hell of a career. He’s a special player and special person. I’m sad I was not able to coach him when he’s younger.”

“All of my teammates helped me reach 10,000, including Scottie and  LA (Tenorio). It’s a good thing that I didn’t disappoint them and the  fans watching,” said Caguioa, who joins the elite list that included Ramon Fernandez (18,996 points), Abet Guidaben (15,775) and Alvin Patrimonio (15,091).

Caguioa’s entry to the PBA 10,000-Point club after 17 long years in the league is also a  fitting addition to a long and colorful career that started in 2001 when he was drafted  No. 3 pick overall by Ginebra.

Consider:

-- PBA champion (2004 Fiesta, 2005 Philippine, 2007 Philippine, 2008 Fiesta, 2016 Governors, 2017 Governors, 2018 Commissioner’s).

-- PBA Most Valuable Player (2012)

-- PBA 40 Greatest Player

-- PBA scoring champion (2005, 2007, 2011)

--PBA All-Star (2001, 2004–2008, 2011–2013, 2015–2017)

--Mythical First Team (2008, 2011, 2012)

-- Mythical Second Team (2005, 2007)

-- Best Player of the Conference (2007 Philippine, 2012 Commissioner’s, 2012 Governors’)

-- PBA Rookie of the Year (2001)

-- Mr. Quality Minutes (2001)

-- PSA Basketball Player of the Year (2007, 2012)

-- PBA Comeback Player of the Year (2012)

Caguioa, who became the third Ginebra player to score10,000  points after  Francis Arnaiz and  Robert Jaworski, admitted that achieving the feat at the Araneta  Coliseum is also special.

“I started most of my games here in Araneta. I thought if I do it on Sunday in Sta. Rosa, it won’t be the same. I grew up here in Araneta, the people saw me grow here. I wanted to make it special and achieve  the 10,000th point here,” Caguioa  told  Charmie Lising of ESPN.

Retirement is coming soon for Caguioa, but he promises to win one or two more championships with Ginebra before he finally hangs up his jersey.

“I’m nearing my retirement now,” said Caguioa.

“But before the day, I’m still looking for more championships. I  still  hope I can help the team win more championships,” added Caguioa,who is one of only two active players in the elite 10,000-Point club.

(James Yap of  Rain or Shine is the other player).

Caguioa  and Ginebra are playing again today (Oct. 7) against Meralco at the Sta. Rosa Sports Complex.

They play again against Rain or Shine  on Oct. 13,  Magnolia on Oct. 28 and Talk N Text on Nov. 4.

These  are  perfect opportunities for all basketball fans to watch Caguioa before another legend  plays out the sunset of his career.

*   *   *

Here’s good news to all devotees  of  St. Pio  of  Pietrelcina.

Padre Pio’s heart  relic will be in the  country for the entire month  of  October.

The relic  will  be  at  the UST Chapel on Oct. 8 and the the  Manila  Cathedral  on   Oct. 9-10.

For comments and suggestions,  email to edandaya2001@yahoo.com