Giving up for the Cebuano Ace
September 1, 2012 by Sydrick Salazar
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I feel sorry for Dondon Hontiveros. For starters, he can’t use his number 7 because Sonny Thoss already owns this. Second, by getting traded for a second time, I think his stock just got lower. How will he fare fighting for the same positions as Calvin Abueva, Cyrus Baguio, and Mac Baracael?
And finally, I know San Miguel’s tagline isn’t like Petron’s but I always think that the powerful “Iba ang may pinagsamahan” works in ALL of their products.
I am a huge mark of the Cebuano Hotshot ever since I saw him play in the MBA. This will be his fourth team in the PBA after starting with Tanduay, then San Miguel for a very long period, and then to Air21, and after less than a year returning to Petron (San Miguel). Hontiveros was the fourth option when he was still playing for the Beermen and he was the team’s last starter to surrender his spot to a newbie.
At 35, his best days are behind him. However we can’t say that he is done for. Last season was hell for the Hotshot as he suffered a year-long injury and averaged in single digits for the first time in eleven seasons. I don’t know if Hontiveros is on the verge of faltering this season but I can see his struggles last season will all be gone in the next. Let’s remember that before the injury, Honti had his second-best season scoring average and was partly a member of the FIBA-bound Smart-Gilas squad.
Hmmm… does this mean he sacrificed his national team stint for a season worth of injuries, career lows, and as of right now… blindsides?
If there’s any consolation, this is a new Alaska team from two seasons ago. With the exceptions of Tony Dela Cruz and Sonny Thoss, this is NOT the Tim Cone team that made Alaska famous. Hontiveros can snatch a seat in the starting squad to join the original Smart-Gilas core of JV Casio and Mac Baracael. He’ll also share the veteran role with past national team teammates Dela Cruz, Cyrus Baguio, and Nic Belasco.
Still you have to feel it for the Hotshot for getting the slingshot out of Petron. There were alleged reports of the rift between Hontiveros and new Petron coach and former teammate Olsen Racela. The thing is, it’s really hard to command attention if you virtually grew up at the same time and it’s really hard to treat a friend a higher being if you are two veterans with different ways of doing things. If you saw the dying minutes of the Asi Taulava charity game, “playing coach” Jimmy Alapag relinquished his coaching to Hontiveros so Dondon has a tendency to submit his ideas whether or not the coach wants it. That is why I wanted Rajko Toroman to lead Petron in a non-advising capacity. Sure, he’ll direct Racela’s decision… but as a former RP team youth coach, he’ll rather have the coaching job for himself.
But the most important aspect of his Petron departure is salary space. This is not like the past administrations where San Miguel can escape loopholing every roster space they need to fill in. The offseason for Petron fans is hell but luckily their team’s combo of youth and experience is promising. Hontiveros is one of many players sharing the spot of the SG/SF position.
Dondon Hontiveros will definitely double or triple his scoring output after last season’s debacle.
And expect him to attack the basket like hell to prove a point that over-the-hill he is not.