EXPECT Mark Barroca to play inspired ball even more when Magnolia guns for a finals berth in the PBA Philippine Cup.
The veteran guard's anxieties were finally lessened when wife Ruselle Alinea gave birth to their third baby on Monday.
Barroca, 35, posted on his IG account the photo of the newest member of theif family, while thanking God for the safety of both his wife and baby.
Now, the Magnolia playmaker will have his full focus on the Hotshots' semis series against the Meralco Bolts, which the team hopes to finish on Wednesday when Game 5 is played at the Don Honorio Ventura State University gym.
After the Hotshots took a 3-1 lead in the best-of-seven series following an 81-69 win, Barroca admitted playing with a lot of apprehensions while inside the Bacolor bubble as his wife's due date is set this October.
"Siyempre first time na magkalayo kami ng asawa ko (na buntis siya), na wala ako sa tabi niya. So siyempre, nag-iisip din ako," he said.
"Nag-struggle talaga ako nung una."
Coach Chito Victolero obviously sensed Barroca is bothered by his current predicament that he had a personal talk with his veteran point guard.
"Kinausap ako ni coach tungkol dun. Inin-courage niya ako, binigyan ng suporta and sabi niya, andiyan si Lord para tingnan ang pamilya ko," said the Zamboanga City native.
Ironically on the eve before his wife gave birth, Barroca played his best game in the series, scattering 17 points and dishing off six assists as he led the Hotshots to the Game 4 win that moved them on the verge of earning a return trip to the Philippine Cup finals after two years.
Barroca clinched the win for Magnolia by hitting a clutch three-pointer with 2:12 remaining that made it 77-69 and doused cold water on the Bolts' sizzling rally in the endgame.
He said his growing family is his inspiration for going after another championship.
"Ito yung motivation ko, ginagawa ko ito dahil para sa kanila ito," Barroca said.
Expect him to be even more focus as Magnolia tries to reach the Promised Land. (RG)