A legendary Hotshot was at ringside to personally cheer the Purefoods franchise in its ongoing PBA Philippine Cup semifinals war against TNT.
Retired great Rey Evangelista sat behind the Magnolia bench in Game 4 of the best-of-seven series in a rare appearance as one of the league's special guests at the Smart Araneta Coliseum Wednesday night.
It was the first time the soft-spoken, 50-year-old forward visited the league since winning as first-time councilor in his native of Ormoc City.
Evangelista is currently in Manila for a seminar engagement that he made sure to watch his former team in the flesh battle it out against the reigning All-Filipino champion.
Too bad, the Hotshots lost, 102-84, and now trails the series, 3-1.
Still, Evangelista received a warm reception from the Big Dome crowd when he was introduced during the first half of the match.
The four-time champion and five-time All-Star exchanged pleasantries with the entire Magnolia unit, and had a great time reminiscing the past with Purefoods old hands, team manager Alvin Patrimonio, a former teammate of him, and liason officer Jojo Peralta.
Evangelista spent his entire 15-year pro career with the franchise, making him among the rare players who suited up for just a single team during their long stay in the league.
He was the Best Player of the Conference during the 2002 Governors' Cup, a PBA Mythical Team Second Team member, a three-time member of the All-Defensive Team, and was named Samboy Lim Sportsmanship awardee three times.
In honor of his work and everything he had done for the Purefoods franchise, the team retired his jersey no. 7 in the company of other team greats such as Patrimonio (16), Jerry Codinera (44), Marc Pingris (15), and Peter June Simon (8). (RG)