MPBL: Resilient Cardona not done with basketball
PAMPANGA, Philippines– For the first time in a year, Mac Cardona is back on the basketball floor.
This time, the ex-PBA standout found himself suiting up for the Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League (MPBL) with the former Metropolitan Basketball Association (MBA) champion San Juan Knights.
And on a rainy Wednesday night, June 20, the Knights reintroduced themselves in a big way, drubbing the hometown team Pampanga Lanterns by 23 points, 93-70, for their first win and the biggest margin of victory so far in the Datu Cup.
Cardona only played 14 minutes, but the experience factor was still clearly there after he tallied 9 points and 3 rebounds on a 4/7 (57%) shooting with one triple to boot.
This, even after Pampanga made it clear that they’d get in his head early and often. However, one technical foul, unsportsmanlike foul and double foul later, the De La Salle University (DLSU) legend had the last laugh as his team ran circles around the hometown heroes.
After the game, Cardona made it clear that this was only the start for him and the Knights, despite many controversial roadblocks that recently plagued the 6-foot guard.
“As long as I can play, I’m gonna continue to play,” said the 37-year old. “Outside basketball, I cannot control [those things]. What I can control is the MPBL, so I’m happy that I’m here and playing again.”
Cardona also shared he was unfazed by the physicality that the Lanterns threw his way.
“I’ve been practicing with the team for 3 months, so I [feel] healthy,” he said. “No injuries, I’m good.”
And at the end of the day, all that matters now for Cardona is basketball.
“Good win for us,” he said. “No matter how much I play, [basta] panalo kami (what matters is we win). “It feels good that we took the first win.”
Cardona recently made headlines after he was arrested for stabbing his ex-live-in partner, Bianca Jackes, just last May 5. (READ: After stabbing incident, Mac Cardona ex alleges cager 'high on drugs')
The player nicknamed as “Captain Hook” was also rushed to the hospital ICU back in August 2016 for overdosing on sleeping pills when he was still playing with the NLEX Road Warriors. (READ: Mac Cardona in stable condition after sleeping pill overdose)
Cardona got back on his feet one more time and worked his way back on the hardwood, eventually landing a short 5-game stint with the Globalport Batang Pier before moving to the MPBL. (READ: Mac Cardona: How an inspiring basketball tale turned tragic)
For now, it seems that the Captain has steered back to calmer waters. – Rappler.com