They–Edwin Asoro, Mark Santamaria, Carlos Morales, Carlo Lloren, David Carlos– were huddled at a corner of the Subic Bay Gym reflecting on their blowout loss to the San Juan Knights on Wednesday when MPBL (Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League) Commissioner Kenneth Duremdes approached them.
His comforting words lifted their spirit and affirmed their belief that they did right in representing their hometown in the deciding Game 3 of the North Division finals of the Chooks-t0-Go MPBL Lakan Season.
Duremdes thanked them personally and then relayed a message from Sen. Manny Pacquiao, the MPBL COO and founder.
“Senator Pacquiao watched the game and he was grateful for what you have done. Despite the odds you fought with your heart out. He was thankful you finished the game and honored your commitment as a player and to the league. With what you did, you help keep the credibility of the MPBL,” Duremdes told them.
“Now you can move on as a player and remember that you were one of the reasons why the league was able to finish the (North) division finals.”
As soon as Duremdes left, the players’ mood changed. Their gloomy faces suddenly turned calm, according to Beaujing Acot, their former coach now acting as a consultant.
They felt justified in not joining the core of the Super Crunch who opted out of the MPBL bubble after failing to come to terms with the team management on financial issues stemming from last year’s Luzon lockdown due to COVID-19.
The truth was they drove a wedge with their former teammates, called names, and got bashed for their defiant stand.
But when the Super Crunch left the MPBL bubble on Thursday, with Acot doubling up as their driver, the five were at peace with themselves.
They need not be ashamed of their 77-point (131-54) defeat to the fully armed Knights because they fought to the end.
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