FROM multi-titled PBA champions as members of the old Purefoods franchise B-Meg/San Mig Coffee, Val Acuña and Lester Alvarez are now playing key roles for their new team Batangas Athletics-Tanduay in the fledging Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League (MPBL).
The two players had a combined eight championships as teammates in the PBA despite being considered as bench warmers. But they proved their worth for their new squad, which they helped notch an early win in the MPBL Anta Rajah Cup.
Mr. Acuña scattered 18 points, built around four triples, while Mr. Alvarez added 14 as the two led the way for the Athletics.
The two veterans relished their new roles as Batangas’ go-to-guys in the MPBL.
“It’s not difficult for me to assume the leadership role because my teammates were very supportive,” Mr. Acuña told BusinessWorld.
After his short-lived PBA career, Mr. Acuña didn’t shy away from playing basketball elsewhere.
That’s how players in the commercial league described their way of continuously pursuing their playing career outside of the regular league they’re playing for.
With food at the table at stake, Mr. Acuña chose to play from these small time leagues just to provide food on the table.
“We need to work for our family, so we continuously play whenever there’s a team out there needing our services, big or small,” added Mr. Acuña. “That’s also one way of keeping myself in shape.”
Mr. Acuña proved it to all and sundry as he came out in tip-top condition for the Athletics.
While Mr. Acuña decided to stay home and continued to do the things he loves the most, Mr. Alvarez tried his luck overseas and he was able to land a job playing as an import in Thailand.
“I pushed myself hard during practice, doubling my effort, knowing that we’re going to be the go-to-guys of our new team,” added Mr. Alvarez. “I played two conferences in the PBA D-League after my short stint in the PBA. Before that, I also played in the Pilipinas Commercial Basketball League then went to the Thailand League. It’s a continues process for me.”
Both Messrs. Acuña and Alvarez admitted they’re using the MPBL as a way to catch attention to teams in the PBA. — Rey Joble