ALMOST right after he got off the plane, the word is that National Basketball Association (NBA) champion and three-time All-Star Glen Rice couldn’t help but mention the name “Trigger.”
“Where’s Trigger?” he said, in so many words.
“Trigger” was the name he and fellow NBA Legends who were here in 2010 for the NBA Asia Challenge had for The Triggerman, Allan Caidic. Caidic, who can very well be said to be the Philippine Basketball Association’s (PBA) answer to Ray Allen, Reggie Lewis, Steph Curry and, yes, Glen Rice thoroughly impressed the NBA Legends with his 54 points off 14 three-pointers in just 24 minutes of play when they played together.
Caidic and Rice were teammates on the Red Team in that ambitious and, at that time, largest NBA event ever to be held in Asia. NBA Legends played with PBA Legends and NBA D-League players in an exhibition game at the Araneta Coliseum on August 29, 2010, that brought NBA action up close and personal to the Filipino public. That was the biggest-scale NBA event held here before the NBA played an official pre-season game in Manila in 2013 between the Indiana Pacers and Houston Rockets at the Mall of Asia Arena.
Well, that Caidic Asia Challenge performance helped the Red Team defeat the White Team, 177-167. According to an ABS-CBN news item in 2010, even Chris Webber couldn’t push The Triggerman off his mind.
“My best and worst memory of this game is the Triggerman. I hate that guy,” Chris Webber, a member of the White Team said jokingly after the game, said the report.
Caidic’s heroics were described further: “Caidic drilled in six 3-pointers in the first half to keep the Red Team within striking distance of the White Team, who led 94-92 at the half. Then Caidic added eight more as Gary Payton and Glen Rice repeatedly looked for him in the second half.”
“It was still tight at the end of the third period as both teams locked, 124-124.
NBA D-League star and former PBA import Richie Frahm even stopped at one point during the fourth period to get his jersey signed by Caidic, who was resting on the bench. It worked wonders as Frahm connected on consecutive three-pointers to pull the White Team within 144-147.
“Then Caidic checked back in and the Red Team’s lead ballooned to 13, 161-148, after Caidic dropped back-to-back three-pointers of his own with 4:05 left.
The White Team never threatened again even as Burnie, the Miami Heat’s mascot, also joined the fun and scored on a layup that was credited to Caidic.
Caidic sank 14 of 26 three-pointers and made all his six other field goals inside the arc to go with three rebounds, one assist and one steal against only a single turnover in the free-flowing game that saw seven deadlocks and 19 lead changes.”
Even Gary Payton chipped in: “We heard a lot about him [Caidic] and those were proven true tonight. Man, he was just incredible.” Rice, who seemed to relish watching Caidic do his thing, dropped five assists to Caidic.
“I’ll be telling and keep on telling about the Triggerman,” Rice kept saying that night. In the three-point shootout side event, the NBA Legend had lost out to the PBA Legend, 7-5.”
It wasn’t surprising then that Glen Rice expressed an intense desire to see The Triggerman again when he touched down Manila for NBA Filipino Heritage Week last week. Rice, who played for the Miami Heat, Charlotte Hornets, Los Angeles Lakers, New York Knicks, Houston Rockets and LA Clippers, is still very much connected to the Heat as its Ambassador/Scout.
The Heat, along with the Golden State Warriors, is one of two teams that participated actively in Filipino Heritage Week. Their players wore Filipino Heritage shirts on the sidelines. Their half time numbers featured Filipino performers. At Oakland, Filipino performer Martin Nievera sang the National Anthem.
In Manila, the NBA celebrated Filipino Heritage Week in style as well. Besides an All-Filipino media teleconference with Coach Erik Spoelstra early in the week and an NBA Cares activity courtesy of Glen Rice for the children of Globe Telecom’s partner communities, two Viewing Parties were held at the Globe Iconic Store Amphitheater at Bonifacio Global City for invited and walk-in guests. Glen Rice was present both days when the Heat played against the Minnesota Timberwolves and the Warriors tussled with the Milwaukee Bucks.
Little did Rice know that NBA Philippines people had a surprise ready for him on Sunday. When event host Nikko Ramos asked him if he had seen any good Filipino shooters around, Glen Rice said without hesitation: “Trigger,”
“I wish I could get to see him before I leave,” he added.
And then it happened. On cue, from behind the bleachers of the specially set up “stadium,” Allan “The Triggerman” Caidic strode in and joined Glen Rice on stage.
Glen Rice’s face beamed like a thousand suns. A firm hand shake ensued, then a bear hug, then laughter and banter as the two shooters rekindled the bond they had forged during that shoot-the-daylights-out event. Caidic had a surprise for his NBA friend in return: a copy of his book, My Life: Allan Caidic The Triggerman.
The two big guns watched the game together, enjoyed a few chuckles and talked about that day, August 29, almost seven years ago. “It was unbelievable,” Rice said about the surprise meeting and talked to media about it afterward.
“I’m deeply flattered that he remembered,” said Caidic, who wasted no time in responding to the invitation to come to the viewing party. “He said he’ll read my book on his flight back home. I’m happy I came.”
Caidic’s entire family—his wife, Millotte and daughters Marla Celina and Marla Clarisse—came to the Filipino Heritage Week with him and witnessed the warm friendship. What an incredible experience they had as well.