JUST as the injury bug bit hard late in the elimination round, San Miguel Alab Pilipinas found a timely boost with Pao Javelona stepping up his game.
The 25-year-old Javelona tallied 18 points and 10 rebounds in Alab Pilipinas’ 101-63 win over CLS Knights on Sunday in Sta. Rosa, Laguna.
Javelona, though, played down his superb performance for Alab while Josh Urbiztondo and Robby Celiz were sidelined with injuries, and import Renaldo Balkman was still recovering from an ankle sprain during Wednesday’s match against CLS Knights.
“Binigay ko lang ‘yung best effort ko kasi marami kaming injured players. Sabi ni coach Jimmy, next guy has to step up. At ‘yung tiwala ng mga teammates ko sa court, ni-repay ko lang ‘yung trust nila sa akin,” said Javelona, who shrugged off an ankle sprain Wednesday against the same team.
“Hindi naman,” he added, when asked if he was determined to avenge what happened on Wednesday. “Siguro ngayon, parang team effort lang talaga. Last time, mild lang naman, hindi malala. Buti nakabalik ako.”
Alab coach Jimmy Alapag lauded not only Javelona but other guys such as Pamboy Raymundo
“It’s great. Pao, Pamboy, JR (Alabanza) really gave great minutes tonight. And that’s what I want to see. Those guys come in everyday and do the work. Lahat sila masipag talaga. It’s tough because it’s a 40-minute game," he said.
“Josh has really had a great ABL season with his consistency so it’s really difficult for me to find minutes for them but having Josh being out in the last few games and having that opportunity, it’s great to see them take advantage of it,” added Alapag.
Javelona vowed to continue to step up in the playoffs.
“As usual, defense pa rin at sabi ni coach Jimmy, darating lang ‘yung offense. Sabi niya, shoot your shots at magtiwala sa sarili,” said the former National University guard.