PAO Javelona has been one of the revelations for San Miguel Alab Pilipinas in the run-yup to its first finals appearance in the Asean Basketball League (ABL).
The defense specialist has emerged as one of the most important pieces for Alab in the postseason, stepping up on both ends of the floor while starting guard Josh Urbiztondo recovers from injury.
The former National University stalwart has been putting up solid numbers as a starter over the last five games, averaging 9.6 points, 5.8 rebounds and three assists - all resulting in wins.
"Every game, I just wanna play my heart out. I just wanna leave it all on the floor and just give all I have," said the six-foot guard, who was drafted by Phoenix in the 2016 draft.
"I just do my job. Gusto ko lang talaga gawin 'yung trabaho ko as a defensive player," he added.
His defensive work was most evident when he limited reigning Heritage Import MVP Tyler Lamb to eight points in Game Two of the ABL semifinals after Lamb exploded for 32 in the series opener.
His offensive numbers showed another blossoming aspect of Javelona's game as he filled the stats sheet with 11 points, eight rebounds and four assists.
Javelona credited Alab coach Jimmy Alapag and the confidence he showed in him, even during the times when he played sparingly early in the season.
"Coach always told me just to be ready, do what I do in practice, and my time will come. My hard work paid off," the 23-year-old guard said.
"Yung tiwala ni coach Jimmy sa akin, he always talks to me during practice, sabi sa akin, ‘Just stay there, Pao, your time will come. Magtiwala ka lang sa sarili mo.’ He just wants me to do my role – play defense and the offense will come."
Javelona vowed to keep working hard and continue to repay the trust given him by Alapag.
"We need consistency so I just go out there, work hard every practice, keep my focus," said Javelona. "We’re just gonna work hard, prepare for the finals and let’s see what happens."