|Mark Caguioa now holds the distinction of being the PBA player with the most number of seasons in just one team. Mike Romero (file photo)|
MANILA--With the outcome already settled with 6:35 left in his team's Sunday night game against Meralco, Ginebra coach Tim Cone emptied his bench and brought in Mark Caguioa along with Jerrick Balanza.
Caguioa's stint was historical in itself as he became the first player to play 18 seasons with just one franchise.
The third overall pick of the 2001 PBA Draft has never left the Barangay and has become one of their superstars during the 2000's and the early 2010's.
Even if he is already way past his prime, the 40-year-old Caguioa remains Ginebra's most heralded player among its current lineup.
Even Cone himself is delighted with Caguioa.
"Mark is just a joy to be around," Cone said after their win over the Bolts at the Angeles University Foundation Sports and Cultural Center.
[Related Story: Ginebra pummels Meralco in Govs' Cup Finals rematch]
On why he said so, Cone explained that Caguioa is an example of how a professional basketball player should act.
"He's always got a sunny disposition. He never insults. He never gets upset. He just has that kind of personality that his teammates love. He doesn't demand anything," Cone further said. "He's just a really really good guy."
He added that even though the shooting guard is not anymore a solid contributor, Caguioa remains one of the Barangay's vocal leaders.
"He has a real strong leadership presence on our team," Cone further quipped.
Caguioa got to finish the game and made two points off a turnaround jumper with 1:15 left and two rebounds.
He is now the player with the most seasons played for just club, breaking a tie with Alvin Patrimonio and Harvey Carey, who just began his 17th season in this ongoing bubble.
Similar to Caguioa, Patrimonio and Carey never left the teams that took them in.
Patrimonio was among the Purefoods franchise's direct hires when the team now known as the Magnolia Hotshots joined the league in 1988.
Even after his playing years, Patrimonio stayed with the club and is currently its team manager.
Carey, on the other hand, was a shock selection in the 2003 draft when TNT recruited him as the fourth overall pick.
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