Plucked from semi-retirement, Sunday Salvacion’s professional basketball career has found a new lease on life making his way back to the Philippine Basketball Association to play for GlobalPort. The veteran swingman acknowledged that his return came at a perfect time, especially after winning a championship with the Philippines-Mighty Sports in the recent William Jones Cup.
“Unang-una nagpapasalamat ako nabigyan pa ako ng chance makapaglaro sa PBA,” said Salvacion. “Malaking tulong rin talaga yung paglalaro ko sa Jones Cup, kasi nabigyan pa ako ng chance.”
There was a time Salvacion was the considered the top gun in the collegiate level. He was a former NCAA Most Valuable Player while leading the St. Benilde Blazers to a championship in 2001 and he was the only college player aside from Jimmy Alapag to be invited by then Philippine men’s basketball team coach Ron Jacobs to be part of the national pool.
Alapag and Harvey Carey were some of Salvacion’s batch mates and they are still playing in the PBA. The deadshot swingman is hoping he would stay on for a little while just like his peers.
“Sana magtuluy-tuloy,” he said.
Salvacion has won championships while playing in the PBA. He was part of the Ginebra team that pocketed four championships from 2004 to 2008. But when he was shifted to another squad, the 6-foot-3 veteran struggled to find his mark with the new teams he played for.
Ever the swingman, Sunday Salvacion sinks a buzzer-beating three-pointer to win the game for his then-team, the Meralco Bolts, in this clip from 2013
When Salvacion was left unprotected and with no takers for his services, it was Mighty Sports, a commercial team which previously played in the Pilipinas Commercial Basketball League, which picked him up. Mighty would go on to be the Philippines’ representative to the William Jones Cup, a tournament participated in annual by Pinoy clubs.
For Salvacion, who had never played for the national squad, it’s an added chapter to his career, as well as a dream come true. “Hindi ko naisip na makakapaglaro ako para sa Philippines, lalo na sa edad kong ito.”
It was an opportunity seized by Salvacion, who a few days after winning a Gold medal as member of the Mighty-Philippines team, landed a job with GlobalPort.
“Tinawagan kaagad ako ni Coach Franz after kong umuwi ng Quezon,” said Salvacion. “Tinanong niya ako kung gusto ko pang maglaro sabi ko, kaya ko pa. Masaya ako na may tiwala sila sa akin.”
Now, Salvacion wants to reward the trust being given to him by being ready for every game: “Ibibigay ko lang yung best ko sa team. Siguro may tiwala sa akin si Coach Franz sa defense ko. Tapos, kahit paano may opensa rin ako. Pero lagi kasi na yung mindset ko i-stop ko yung tao ko,” he added.
In a league where the transition is the norm as players come and go, Salvacion was able to find a spot. There’s absolutely a place for a gifted player such as him, who can do things both ways, while lending his leadership to the team.