The streak that Magnoliaâs Mark Barroca cares about
Mark Barroca admitted he never thought about any such streaks and was surprised when informed he had one going — playing 450-plus straight games in the PBA.
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The streak that Magnolia’s Mark Barroca cares about

Rick Olivares ( - December 1, 2020 - 10:22am

MANILA, Philippines – Magnolia Hotshots guard Mark Barroca played his 450-plus consecutive games in the PBA. It is the second longest streak behind current leader LA Tenorio, who is close to 700 games.

Barroca, a 10-year pro, admitted he never thought about any such streaks and was surprised when informed he had one going.

“Ang alam ko lang ay gustong gusto ko maglaro,” he said in spite of getting in on the years.

And yet, incredibly, he has not missed a single match — where he was available — since donning Far Eastern University’s colors in 2007. In the UAAP, he suited up 43 times for the Tamaraws.

In other leagues such as the preseason tourneys from Filoil to Nike to post-season tilts like Fr. Martin Cup, Champions League or the PBL, Barroca asserts he hasn’t missed a game.

Even during his national team days from 2008-2011 under Rajko Toroman up to his return in 2018 under Yeng Guiao, Barroca has played every match where he was listed on the roster. 

The Zamboanga native has never been knocked about even by injuries. 

“Kahit may ankle sprain maglalaro ako. Nasanay na rin mga coaches ko. Hindi ako mapakali kung hindi ako makalaro,” he continued.

“Disiplina at luck lang,” Barroca said of his good fortune. “Kahit nung college days ko, hindi ako gaano ma-gimmick. Hindi naman tayo super strict sa dieting pero control lang.”

Barroca pointed out that when there are no games, he spends quality time with his family’ sometimes staying up late. On nights before matches, he goes to bed early.

“Ang ideal weight ko is 160-165 pounds so ‘yan ang binabantayan ko,” he underscored. 

One other secret to his success is adapting to his coaches. Under Tim Cone, he played more of a walk-up offense. Under current taskmaster Chito Victolero, the team performs at a faster pace.

Barroca has played this way before. In FEU, they played a more deliberate game. With Gilas, the nationals pushed the tempo and the pace.

“If hindi ka mag-adapt, mawawalan ka ng puwesto sa team.”

With the deep guard rotation of the Hotshots — Justin Melton, Paul Lee, Jio Jalalon, Alvin Abundo and Chris Banchero — Barroca no longer logs heavy minutes. 

“Prepared naman tayo lagi para sa mahahabang laro. Happy din naman ako na marami kami. We complement each other. And not playing long minutes 30-40 minutes means quicker recovery. Yung soreness mas matagal maiwan sa katawan.”

From his days as a razzle-dazzle, take-it-to-the-rim high-scoring guard, Barroca prefers the pick-and-rolls and shooting the jumper if open. 

“The older you get, dapat mas gamitin yung utak,” he made sure to point out.

At 34, with six PBA titles under his belt, a pair of PBA Finals MVP Awards, seven PBA All-Star Team berths, slots in the Mythical and Defensive Teams, Barroca still has that hunger.

He hopes to achieve more for his team. Not for himself. The iron man streak is nice, he admits. He does know it is going to end some day and like all other streaks, will eventually be surpassed. So it is a nice one to have but nothing he is going to lose sleep over. 

Barroca is happier he has stayed relatively injury free and a valuable cog for his teams. However, what is more important for him is being a top father for his family husband for his wife, Ruselle, and the best dad to his two children, Natalie and Nathan. 

“Yan ang streak na mas may care ko,” he summed up.

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