He was an overseas Filipino worker stationed in Abu Dhabi for years, but before that Philip Butel played for Sta. Lucia Realty's now-defunct club in the PBA.
Now that he’s back in the country, the 6-foot-7 center is glad to be playing the sport he loves the most.
He actually made his Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League (MPBL) debut for the Caloocan Supremos in the inaugural Rajah Cup. Now though, Butel is bringing his defensive mindset to the Marikina Shoemasters in the Datu Cup.
“Nagpapasalamat ako sa mga coaches kasi binigyan ako ng opportunity para makapaglaro dito,” Butel said in an interview with ABS-CBN News prior to the start of the tournament. “Ilang years din akong nahinto sa paglalaro, pero passion talaga natin ang basketball.”
Butel was forced to look for a job overseas after leaving Sta. Lucia. He played basketball with fellow OFWs in Abu Dhabi, but it was not the same as the PBA.
“Nagtrabaho ako sa drilling company sa Abu Dhabi. Minsan naglalaro rin ako doon pero di consistent kasi work talaga ang ipinunta natin doon,” said Butel, who played only 6 minutes in Marikina's win over General Santos on Tuesday.
“Ang maibibigay ko sa kanila is depensa . . . kaya kong makipag palitan ng mukha, kaya kong makipag banggaan.”
Even at 37 years old, Butel said he feels he can still compete against the young ones.
“Sumasabay pa rin naman tayo sa takbuhan,” he said.
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