Despite a hip injury, Barangay Ginebra San Miguel skipper Mark Caguioa is looking forward to playing in the annual PBA All-Star Game on Sunday.
The former league MVP injured his hip in a game against Blackwater when he collided with Elite rookie guard Brian Heruela midway in the fourth quarter.
Caguioa had 15 points and seven rebounds before leaving the game that Ginebra won, 89-82, for a 4-3 card – tied with defending champion Purefoods, Globalport and Barako Bull for fourth to seventh places.
The PBA All-Star Weekend is scheduled March 5 to 8 in Palawan.
The 35-year-old Caguioa has been voted for the eighth time to start for the North Team by PBA fans.
“The reason why I’m there (at the PBA All-Star) is because of them (fans),” said Caguioa, a 15-year PBA veteran who averages 11 points, 4.86 rebounds and 1.43 assists this conference.
“They voted me so it means they want to see me and I have to do that,” added Caguioa.
According to team insiders, the 6-foot-1 Caguioa is still bothered by the injury, which forced him to miss several practice session so as not to aggravate or irritate the hip area where there is pain.
While the team’s medical personnel already recommended for Caguioa to have Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) test, the Ginebrs star has opted not to have one until after the All-Star Game.
MRI test will show if there is fracture on his hip bone, and if that’s the case, it’s possible for Caguioa to rest and skip the All-Start Game, and – worst case scenario – possibly a surgery.
Two years ago in Digos, Caguioa decided to play for the PBA All-Star Team that battled the Gilas Pilipinas despite a MCL (medial collateral ligament) sprain on his right knee.
Caguioa played just six minutes in a game that ended in a deadlock, 124-all.
In the event that Caguioa changes his mind and decides it’s better for him to rest, and avoid getting injured, the PBA Commissioner’s Office will decide on a Caguioa’s replacement to the North Team.
Aside from Caguioa, also voted to start in the All-Star Game for North Team are Ginebra teammate Japeth Aguilar, Purefoods’ Marc Pingris and Justin Melton, and Alaska’s Calvin Abueva.
The South Team, on the other hand, will have as starters San Miguel Beer’s June Mar Fajardo, Ginebra’s Greg Slaughter, NLEX’s Asi Taulava, and Purefoods teammates James Yap and Mark Barroca.
The All-Star North Team will be handled by SMB’s Leo Austria while the All-Star South Team will have Alaska’s Alex Compton, the two coaches whose teams battled in the Philippine Cup won by the Beermen.