Petron’s six-foot court general, in fact, made a triumphant return during the Boosters’ thrilling 90-88 win over the tough Air21 Express, firing 10 points, including what proved to be the game-winning jumper to preserve the team’s immaculate record.
Cabagnot showed no signs of slowing down when three days later, he banged in a game-high 17 points, spiked by three triples, to go along with eight rebounds and six assists to lead Petron to a tight 77-73 victory over the Meralco Bolts on Saturday’s first road game for the season in Dipolog City.
The twin victories enabled the Boosters to banner the 10-team field with a still unblemished 7-0 win-loss record, halfway through the PLDT myDSL-PBA Philippine Cup.
Cabagnot’s explosive comeback earned him the Accel-PBA Press Corps. Player of the Week honors for the period of December 9-15.
The southpaw Petron guard easily bested equally tough competitors led by the Boosters’ vastly-improved center June Mar Fajardo, Barangay Ginebra’s Japeth Aguilar, Mac Baracael and Greg Slaughter as well as Globalport’s Solomon Mercado for the weekly citation.
Cabagnot averaged 13.5 points, 5.5 rebounds and 6.5 assists in 31.5 minutes of play this season.
“Alex really gave us a different dimension on our game ever since he came back, noting that he’s been working really hard on his pick and roll game,” said a beaming Petron coach Gee Abanilla, on his prized point guard.
Abanilla even lauded the University of Hawaii-Hilo for courageously battling through his injury by religiously attending to his rehab and making the extra work to get back into game shape this season.
“I like the way he’s been winning his mental battle from his injury, proving to be one of the leaders of this team, which we really need,” added the Petron mentor, whose team finished a strong second in last season’s PBA Governors Cup Finals.