While much of the focus on the upcoming PBA bubble in Clark, Pampanga will be on the blue-chip rookies, one small group of players will be out for recognition.
And they are the exclusive group of senior statesmen.
Leading the charge for the ‘young once’ is none other than ‘The Rock’ himself, Asi Taulava.
The 47-year old Fil-Tongan is entering his 22nd season in the league and while he is already far removed from the dominant force he once was, his wealth of wisdom and experience will definitely come in handy for the NLEX Road Warriors.
Coming in close is Rafi Reavis of Magnolia. The 43-year old, second overall pick of the 2002 draft is still heavily relied upon the Hotshots especially now that Marc Pingris has been in and out of the rotation due to an assortment of injuries.
And with Pingris once again out of commission, expect the 11-time PBA champion to serve as the guiding force for the team’s up and coming big men.
Just like Reavis, Reynel Hugnatan has also been providing quality minutes for the Meralco Bolts. The 42-year old product of the University of Manila has given Norman Black a reliable bruiser off the bench and even had several shining moments during the 2019 Governors’ Cup Finals. His ability to deliver from 3-point country has certainly been a major contributor in his longevity.
Hugnatan, who will turn a year older on November 3, is not lone birthday celebrant in the bubble as Brgy. Ginebra’s representative will also celebrate his.
Mark Caguioa will turn 41 on the 19th of November.
The 2012 PBA MVP rarely sees action for Tim Cone but the league’s winningest mentor nonetheless counts on ‘The Spark’ to bring on the much-needed energy boost off the bench.
Caguioa has already announced that this will be his last season and that a championship would be the perfect cap off for his distinguished career.
TNT’s representative is the 41-year Harvey Carey. The 4th overall pick of the 2003 draft is entering his 17th season in the league and the ‘Tropang Giga’ would certainly benefit from his presence now more than ever due to the sudden retirement of Kelly Williams.
And lastly, San Miguel’s 40-year old center Billy Mamaril is in for a substantial increase in playing time now that the team’s main man June Mar Fajardo is out for the 2020 Philippine Cup restart.
The Club 40s has indeed come a long way and all members will be raring to prove their worth once the ‘Bubble Season’ takes off.