Coming off a steady performance in the PBA bubble, Reynel Hugnatan received a reward in the form of a contract extension in Meralco.
Team manager Paolo Trillo said the 42-year-old Hugnatan and the Bolts reached an internal agreement on Monday but did not disclose the terms of the contract.
Hugnatan played a vital role in Meralco’s historic campaign in the Philippine Cup bubble last year and even emerged as one of the candidates for the Most Improved Player award.
The sweet-shooting forward from Bacolod put up averages of 11.7 points and 4.8 rebounds for the Bolts, who made their first semifinals appearance in an all-Filipino conference after dethroning five-time champion San Miguel.
Hugnatan became the talk of the town for an alleged “luto” accusation in Meralco’s final four duel against Barangay Ginebra but he also got in the spotlight for his long jumper that sent the series to a do-or-die match and a triple that could have allowed the Bolts to force an overtime in Game 5 only to be denied by Scottie Thompson’s game-winning trey.
“It (contract extension) is a fitting reward to his contribution, especially after what he did in the recent bubble tournament,” said Trillo in an interview with PBA.ph.
“We’re excited to have him back,” he added.
Hugnatan is expected to remain as a pivotal piece in Meralco’s frontcourt along with Raymond Almazan, Cliff Hodge, Jammer Jamito and Nonoy Baclao.
Jamito and Baclao each signed a fresh one-year contract with the Bolts also on Monday.