Still exploding @ 40

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Rey Joble

The Link

Great players had great games left in them.

In the PBA All-Star Games last season, two-time MVP James Yap put on a performance we’ll never forget as he ruled the PBA 3-point shootout, when almost everybody had practically dismissed him following the decline of his performance the previous years.

But he’s back at the peak of his game and now leading the charge for the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters.

In the Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League (MPBL), an old warrior is trying to defy the test of time as he made his mark in the recent PayMaya-MPBL All-Star 3-point Shootout and bested younger rising stars of the fastest growing regional amateur basketball league.

He re-introduced himself with a bang and made sure everybody will hear it.

When the smoke cleared, there’s ‘El Granada’ Gary David, standing out as the best marksman in the MPBL All-Star long distance shootout.

A many-time scoring champion in the PBA, David had accepted his new role with the Bataan Risers being handled by basketball legend Jojo Lastimosa. There at Bataan, the 6-foot-2, former Gilas Pilipinas standout, took a backseat to his younger and talented teammates and embraced the role as a leader of the squad.

Each time he’ll be given an opportunity to play, he would make sure he would be ready to play.

Such attitude made him endeared to the MPBL fans more and even when he’s playing a limited role for the Risers, he would respond to the challenge.

When his name was listed both as competitor in the MPBL All-Star Game playing for the North squad and as a contestant in the Three-Point Shootout, David has only one thing in mind — play his best and give back to the fans who voted for him.

It was during the Shootout where David shines and he was able to bring down the shooting goliaths of the MPBL.

He scored 18 points in the first round, then advanced into the finals where he will face James Martinez of the Bulacan Kuyas, GJ Ylagan of the Muntinlupa Cagers, Chris Bitoon of the Manila Stars and John Wilson of the San Juan Knights.

Call it as a blessing in disguise, David was able to shoot first after ending up the elimination round at fifth best. Quickly, he made his stamp and he knocked down 23 points and immediately put pressure on the rest of the cast.

It was a vintage performance for ‘El Granada,’ a sentimental favorite, but never been the odds on bet who would place their money on Bitoon, Martinez, Almond Vosotros of the Caloocan Supremos or Robin Roño of the Parañaque Patriots.

But he has been there many times like this and when opportunity has become limited, David made sure he won’t pass up that chance to shine. Welcome back, ‘El Granada.’


Rey Joble is a member of the PBA Press Corps and Philippine Sportswriters Association.