Barangay Ginebra veteran Mark Caguioa to return for 19th PBA season

Mark Caguioa will return for a 19th PBA season and said he would accept a reduced role with Ginebra. Ernie Sarmiento/ESPN5

Mark Caguioa will suit up for a 19th PBA season after extending his stay with Barangay Ginebra for one more year. The 40-year-old guard announced the extension during the Gin Kings' fan victory party in Pasig and said a conversation with San Miguel Corp. sports director Alfrancis Chua made another season possible.

"Coach Al pulled me aside," Caguioa said. "He told me he's gonna give me one more year,"

Before the announcement, Caguioa had told reporters he was looking to play for as long as he could

"My body is not hurting. I feel like I can still go for 10 years or something like that," he said. "But I'm just saying that. I still feel good, you know what I mean?"

Caguioa did not see a lot of action on the floor during the 2019-20 PBA season, averaging just 5.7 minutes over eight games in Ginebra's latest Governors' Cup title run. That is in stark contrast to his prime playing days where the eight-time champion served as the face of the franchise.

"It's really so easy (taking a step back) because all these guys really work hard in practice," Caguioa said. "It's like I could see myself in how hard these guys worked to get to that level that they're playing in now. It's just amazing. I mean, I'm 40 years old. I've been there, done that. There's no way I would wanna play more minutes or play more time with the other guys."

After a successful end to the season, Caguioa said Ginebra is already eyeing a strong start with a title in the Philippine Cup set to tip-off this March.

"I want the guys to win this next conference. It's gonna be another test. We're not gonna be playing with Justin (Brownlee). I think if we win this All-Filipino, that's just gonna (be) the cherry on top. But it's been a long time," said Caguioa, who last won his All-Filipino title 13 years ago. "We would win whenever Justin is here, but I think it would be a lot more special if we win this All-Filipino."