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'He's heaven sent': Alex Cabagnot nothing but grateful to Yeng Guiao for Gilas chance.

Alex Cabagnot had much to celebrate on an eventful Wednesday evening.

He witnessed University of the Philippines, where he works as an assistant coach, break its 32-year finals curse and he was also named as one of the 12 players that will lineup for Gilas in the upcoming Fiba window.

Cabagnot will play against Kazakhstan in the Fiba World Cup Asian Qualifier on Nov. 30 at Mall of Asia Arena and the San Miguel point guard had nothing but gratitude to Gilas head coach Yeng Guiao.

'Thank you for breaking the news. I feel great, I guess double the blessings, I'm still on a UP high right now,' said Cabagnot who only learned of his inclusion after UP's 89-87 overtime win against Adamson University in the UAAP Season 81 men's basketball Final Four at Smart Araneta Coliseum.

'I feel like coach Yeng's a Godsend, a heaven sent, he's my guardian angel. I never thought in my 13 years of playing that I would don the colors of the flag.'

Cabagnot has long established himself as one of the best point guards in the PBA with seven titles and six All-Star appearances, but was seen as a second fiddle to national team regulars Jayson Castro, LA Tenorio, and Jimmy Alapag.

It took until Cabagnot reached 35-years-old for him to become a national team player and he credited Guiao for believing in him despite his age.

'I'm 36 in a couple of weeks so I never thought, I felt that God sent coach Yeng to really make a dream come true for me, to be an ambassador of Philippine basketball,' said Cabagnot, who will celebrate his birthday on Dec. 8.

As for his job with UP, Cabagnot said he has utmost admiration of senior guard Paul Desiderio.

UP's skipper drilled the game-winning jumper with 6.6 seconds left in the game and it was one field goal that reminded Cabagnot of his many similar clutch baskets in the PBA.

'He's a very soft-spoken guy, a happy-go-lucky guy but when it's crunch time he does what he does,' said Cabagnot of Desiderio who went for 4-of-20 shooting for 16 points. 'He's assertive and he's not afraid of the ball and he really does want it.'

'He's trying to carry the whole UP community on his shoulders, I think he did a great job today.'

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Publication:Philippines Daily Inquirer (Makati City, Philippines)
Date:Nov 28, 2018
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