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Gary David in high spirits

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Manila Diary by JULIET SIMBRE


Veteran swingman Gary David has finally found a new home and renewed hopes in the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA).

Three weeks after the Meralco Bolts left him unprotected when the player had a rift with multi-titled coach Norman Black, the former three-time scoring champion was plucked by the powerhouse San Miguel Beer ballclub from the free agency market.

The Bolts placed him in unrestricted status last month shortly after slapping him with a one-game suspension for refusing to check into the team’s game against the NLEX Road Warriors.

The punishment was due to “insubordination,” “lack of dedication to the team,” “and a breach of contract which states that he’s obligated to play in official PBA games at all times.”

David’s status as an unrestricted free agent had allowed him to freely negotiate and talk to teams interested in his services.

Mahindra and Blackwater showed interest in the 37-year-old gunner’s services, but San Miguel secured the man nicknamed “El Granada” in the league because of his explosive shooting hands whose contract with Meralco expires at the end of the season.

As if needing more firepower, the Beermen have boosted their title aspirations with the acquisition of the 6-foot-2 David.

Given quality playing time, David – a five-time PBA All-Star – will be an explosive addition to the Beermen’s loaded back court with Alex Cabagnot, Chris Ross, Marcio Lassiter, Ronald Tubid, and Brian Heruela.

David is a type of player who can initiate his own shot; can be a take-charge guy during crunch time; and also an effective one-on-one player. He doesn’t hesitate to take the shot when it’s there.

And with David on board, the Beermen’s roster, which already has the likes of June Mar Fajarco, Marcio Lassiter, Chris Ross, and Arwind Santos, got deeper boosting their title chances more.

When he was with Meralco, David’s playing time dwindled in the ongoing Commissioner’s Cup, averaging just 16.3 minutes per outing for a 6.6 points and 1.1 rebounds production.

When he made his debut for the Beermen against Phoenix last Sunday in the ongoing Commissioner’s Cup, David didn’t hide his delight.

Actually, he was not supposed to make his debut on that day. It was not part of coach Leo Austria’s plans, but that was before the fans started chanting David’s name similar to that Gilas Pilipinas game in the 2013 Fiba Asia Championship.

And to the cheering fans’ delight, Austria tapped David into the game in the final 1:45 with the Beermen comfortably ahead, 115-102 and when all but the the final score was already settled.

He quickly showed the stuff he’s made of hitting a layup off a baseline drive for his first two points as a member of the Beermen who prevailed over Phoenix, 121-109.

David has every reason to smile wearing the traditional red and black colors of the Beermen. With his new team, he is now looking forward to a better career. 

And since barging into the league in 2004 as Coca-Cola’s 10th overall pick in the rookie draft, he has not won a first PBA title. In fact, David has not also won a single major championship since his playing days in the varsity league.

So now being part of one of the most formidable teams in the league, the 12-year veteran has his best chance of winning his first PBA championship just before he retires.

San Miguel has so far won three championships in the previous four conferences and that puts David closer to reaching his ultimate goal.






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