MANILA, Philippines—Somewhere in the first half, a conversation took place between Allan Caidic and a referee during an inbound break. The referee, who had seen the legendary shooter nail three-pointer after three-pointer, brought up the possibility of a comeback.
“I could sign with Ginebra,” Caidic said jokingly in Filipino. “But my rights are still with Red Bull.”
And then he darted down his team’s half of the court and went on to complete one of the most impressive throwback performances Friday night in the NBA Asia Challenge 2010 at the Araneta Coliseum.
If greatness is the sum of its parts, you could cut the Triggerman’s legend 21 ways. In front of a lively audience and some of the biggest names from yesterday’s NBA, Caidic nailed that many triples.
He had 14 for the game, where he finished with a jaw-dropping 54 points. In the middle of the first two periods, he knocked in seven triples in a mini shoot-out with Glen Rice, who drained five.
Caidic’s Triggerman moniker had piqued the curiosity of visiting NBA legends. And his exploits had been passed around for all to talk about.
After all, he owns the PBA’s most indestructible record of all time—79 points built around 17 treys.
Friday night, the Barangay Ginebra official reincarnated his Triggerman persona so everybody could see it in the flesh and led his Red Team over the White squad, 177-167, in a game where defense was merely a theory.
“We heard a lot about him,” said Gary “the Glove” Payton. “He’s the truth.”
Maybe they heard from him from the Dominique Wilkins-led NBA legends who visited the country last year. Caidic torched them for 15 points on five triples in a 20-minute performance.
The NBA’s Hall-of-Famers got to see Caidic live and could not stop uttering his name afterward.
In fact, the number that came closest to the triples he made was the number of times the word Triggerman/Trigger got mentioned in the post-game press conference—11.
“Triggerman was incredible,” said former Sacramento Kings forward Chris Webber. “Each time we were fouling each other a little bit on the elbow and putting a hand in each other’s face and he was still making shots.”
“They gave the ball so I had to shoot it,” Caidic said. “I was open most of the time, so I had to make it.”
Caidic had six triples in the first half alone. That’s the same number of threes Richie Frahm, who buried the second highest total of shots from beyond the arc, managed to make—the entire game.
So in awe was Frahm of Caidic’s shooting that at one point during the game, before sprinting back on defense, the former PBA import stopped by the Red team bench to have his jersey signed by Caidic.
“No matter how many shots I made, the Triggerman hit twice as many. I was just in awe of his performance. I think he’s going to come back and sign a two-year contract with San Miguel,” joked Frahm.
After getting the autograph, Frahm, who played for Talk ’N Text in 2002, made three straight triples for the White team. After the third triple, he looked at Caidic and pointed to the signature at the back of his jersey.
No one was more in awe of Caidic than Rice. The hype surrounding the game centered on the two players and the question was who would make more triple by the end of the night. Counting the five Rice made during the shoot-out, the one-time NBA champion wound up with 10.
“Trigger! I’m all about Trigger right now,” said Rice. “I wanna tell Trigger, come playoff time, you might want to keep your phone line open.”
Sure, there were other highlights.
Atoy Co missing a million shots before finally nailing one late in the third period to the roar of the crowd; Payton taking over a cameraman’s duties from the sidelines and Mitch Richmond during the post-game conference talking about the Big Dome in revered tones.
“It was an honor to play in this building where Ali and Frazier (fought) the ‘Thrilla in Manila,’” Richmond said. “I never thought I’d be able to get to see it or even play in it. This is a historic moment for us.”
But Caidic owned the spotlight. When he tried to shed some of it off—he passed up on a basket by feeding the ball to Burnie, the Miami Heat Mascot, for an undergoal stab—it reflected back to him.
Because he wasn’t in the team roster, Bernie’s basket was credited to Caidic, raising the Triggerman’s total to 54 points.
And even as he said very little, the guy who scored his team’s first seven points had the last word of the night—courtesy of Rice.
“The last word I wanna say,” Rice said, pausing for a while before adding “is Trigger, Trigger, Trigger.” Photo by Celest Flores