|Photo 1st seen @ Celest Flores' article on Inquirer.net|
The Big J clearly remarked that this is merely a retirement of his iconic number 7, and that he will never ever depart the sport that blessed him all the way back from his collegiate days at the University of the East, where he was molded by the Maestro himself, Virgilio "Baby" Dalupan, to his MICAA days, to the iconic Toyota brand and to the Ginebra franchise.
The former senator personally gave thanks to those who helped pave the way to who he was then, and who he is now. For more details, watch the entire speech below.
It was a special night, graced by his former players at Ginebra, his former head coach at Toyota, Dante Silverio (whose jet-black hair still stands amidst the test of time), PBA Commissioner Chito Salud, Ginebra executives and SMC sports head Noli Eala, representing Ramon S. Ang.
|Ginebra's Past meets its Current|
The game that followed, Barangay Ginebra against Petron Blaze Boosters, had to come close to the pomp and drama of the ceremony. Instead, the match evolved into a modern illustration of the essence that is ang lahing Ginebra San Miguel, in fact, they were sporting throwback jerseys that night as well.
The Gin Kings suffered a sluggish start, trailing early they tried to find their form. But they kept themselves hanging around ensuring they keep themselves in a position for a possible comeback, anchored by the likes of Mark Caguioa and the wily veterans. And then in the fourth quarter, with the Spark firing on all cylinders, Ginebra's future shows up. SMART-Gilas alum Dylan Ababou scored all 13 of his points in the second half, while Rico Maierhofer snags a 10 and 10 performance.
And although Alex Cabagnot scores to even things at 85, it just sets up the drama.
And the postgame.