It’s an elite club reserved not only for the most prolific scorers in league history but also its most durable players.
No doubt Mark Caguioa deserves a spot in that hallowed group.
The former PBA MVP took another small step in an incidental odyssey to reach 10,000 points when he notched 8 more in Barangay Ginebra’s win over Columbian Dyip in the Commissioner’s Cup at Araneta Coliseum on Wednesday.
According to PBA chief statistician Fidel Mangonon III, that brought Caguioa’s career scoring total up to 9,931 points, 69 short of joining the club that currently consists of only 14 players.
No player sets his sights on achieving individual goals, and Caguioa is no different.
“I’m not really going to go after it,” Caguioa said in an article posted on the official PBA website. “I’ll just try to win more championships. That’s all.”
Nonetheless, Caguioa moved into 15th place in the all-time scoring list, overtaking Crispa great Freddie Hubalde, who retired 73 points shy of hitting 10,000.
Now the question is, can Caguioa bring his career point production to 5-digit territory?
If things fall into place in his favor, it’s only a matter of time before Ginebra’s No. 47 does.
And going by his current averages, it’s not unrealistic to expect Caguioa to accomplish the feat before the year ends.
In 9 games in the Commissioner’s Cup, Caguioa is averaging 3.6 points. If the goal is to score 69 more, he needs 20 games maintaining his current scoring average to reach that target.
Add the 2 games left in the Commissioner’s Cup and 11 more in the season-ending Governors’ Cup, and those are 13 games. If Ginebra at least reaches the semifinals in both conferences, that’s 20 games or more easy.
True, there are a lot of ifs, too many variables. Again, it’s not an unrealistic scenario — Caguioa achieving the milestone this year — but several factors need to be in play for it to happen.
Health is tops on the list.
Caguioa should have reached the 10K plateau years ago if it weren’t for a knee injury that forced him to miss all of the 2008-09 season. At 38, staying in game shape and avoiding being hurt are inevitably more challenging.
How often Caguioa’s number will get called is another factor.
In 27 possible games for Ginebra this season up to its victory over Columbian Dyip on Wednesday, Caguioa was marked a DNP in 5 games.
During the Philippine Cup, the minutes came in generously during the elimination round (141 minutes in 11 games), but not so in the Commissioner’s Cup (61 minutes in 9 games so far) with Justin Brownlee eating up a chunk of the playing time.
Some might ask, if Caguioa falls short this season, there’s always next year, right?
Caguioa has been tight-lipped over his future. He’ll weigh his options and ultimately make a decision. If he feels he’s done, he’ll walk away, regardless of whether he makes it to 10K points or not.
Which, for numbers-crazy fans at least, makes it imperative for Caguioa to get to that milestone in the current year.
Many of the players on the 10K club were either part of the inaugural season in the mid-1970s or the second “Golden Age” of local players led by Alvin Patrimonio and Allan Caidic in the late 1980s.
Yap is the only member of the club who was drafted this millennium.
Prior to Yap, who reached the milestone in 2017, the last player to accomplish the feat was Jerry Codiñera in 2001.
(For more sports coverage, visit the ABS-CBN Sports website.)