By Adrian Stewart Co
Bacolodnon center Reynel Hugnatan has one wish before retiring from basketball—to win a Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) championship with the Meralco Bolts.
According to the former Negros Slashers star, a PBA title with the Bolts was just one of his lacking pieces after winning championships with his previous teams Coca Cola Tigers and Alaska Aces.
“Kahit bago man lang ako mag-retire, makatulong sana muna ako sa Meralco na makakuha ng championship, ‘yun ang pinaka goal ko,” the 42-year-old Hugnatan said in an interview with PBA Rush.
“Kaya naman ginagawa ko lahat, sa practice, sa disiplina, ma-maintain ko ‘yung level ng laro ko. Para pagdating sa laro, ganun pa rin ‘yung quality ng laro ko,” added the Bacolod City-native.
Since being traded to the Bolts in 2011, the former University of Manila center had three opportunities to win a championship but all ended up losing to Barangay Ginebra San Miguel Kings.
Despite being the oldest player in Meralco’s roster, Hugnatan continues to be a vital cog for the Norman Black-mentored squad and even become a finalist for Most Improved Player last season.
In the suspended 2021 PBA Philippine Cup, Hugnatan had averages of 8.60 points, 2.80 rebounds, 1.40 assists, 0.40 steals, and 0.40 blocks in 21.23 minutes of action in five games.
The Bolts were one of the leading teams in the standings with 4-1 win-loss slate, just behind Magnolia Hotshots, which is undefeated in four matches, and TNT Tropang GIGA, which has a 3-0 record.
“At least ngayon, nabibigyan pa ako ng kontrata ng team. At least kumikita pa ako,” he said. “Eto ‘yung first love ko eh. Eto ‘yung gustong-gusto ko. Kaya siguro rin ako nagtagal dahil kumbaga hindi ko pinapabayaan sarili ko. Mahal ko trabaho ko.”
“Pinapakita ko rin sa mga mas bata sa akin kung bakit ako nagtagal sa PBA. Parang lagi kong pinapakita sa kanila na ako ang nauuna sa gym, nagsu-shooting, ako lagi ‘yung huling umuuwi,” Hugnatan added./ASC, WDJ