He really wanted to play one more game – and win – a perfect sendoff before his planned
But Kenneth Duremdes thought otherwise when the Powerade Tigers had their highs and lows.
“I really wanted to play one more game. We could have picked a non-bearing game, then retire
afterwards. But several things happened the past few months, which derailed my comeback and finally, I had to forego my return and retire from the game instead,” Duremdes said.
According to the former PBA Most Valuable Player, the Tigers’ amazing run all the way to the
Finals derailed his possible return.
“I don’t want to disrupt the team’s chemistry. The team was really doing good, so I told Boss
JB that I will wait for the right time instead,” added Duremdes.
The league’s Captain Marbel doesn’t want to plunge action either in the Commissioner’s Cup, a
tournament where every game counts.
“Mahirap din kung dito naman ako mag-comeback sa Commissioner’s Cup dahil bawat laro may
bearing,” added Duremdes. “Then dumating pa yung mga hindi magagandang reports na nangyari sa
team, so sabi ko hindi na lang ako mag-comeback and mag-retire na lang.”
On March 23, Duremdes got the recognition only a few players have received from their mother teams. His jersey was officially retired by Powerade and JB Baylon, the team’s former governor, who resigned both as board representative of the squad and director for communications of Coca-Cola Export. Baylon was there personally to hand over his laminated jersey as requested by the player himself.
“Para sa akin, isa ito sa mga achievements na gusting makuha ng mga players dahil bibihira sa mga players, even yung mas magagaling pa sa akin, ang binibigyan ng honor ng team,” said Duremdes.
And what a better way for Duremdes to have his jersey retired than facing his former team, the
Alaska Aces, a squad which he led to numerous championship and the same team where he won his first and only MVP award in 1998.
“I have lots of memories with Alaska. Yung attitude kasi ng mga players na nakasama ko dyan have
the same mentality as mine. We’re all winners and we’re all character players, sina Jolas (Jojo
Lastimosa), Johnny (Abarrientos), Poch (Juinio) and Sean
Chambers. They’re all coming in night and day with a mentality to win,” added Duremdes.
Now officially retired, Duremdes said he doesn’t want to stay away from basketball.
“It will still be my priority. I have a business in the province, but I will still want to be
involved in basketball,” said Duremdes, who represented the PBA-backed national squads three times (1994, 1998 and 2002) in the Asian Games.
Duremdes played 13 seasons in the PBA and saw action in 527 games. He ended his career as the No. 37 all-time best scorer with a career total of 7,073 points. He played for four teams – Sunkist, Alaska, Sta. Lucia and Coca-Cola – and participated in the All-Star Game nine times, being named as the MVP in the 1996 event as member of the Rookies, Sophomores and Juniors squad. (RJ)