HAS San Sebastian finally found the heir to RK Ilagan?
"Mayroon na ulit akong RK Ilagan," he said of Are, who led San Sebastian to a big 79-73 come from behind win over San Beda on Friday in the Filoil EcoOil Preseason Cup.
Are, a 5-foot-9 guard, has been solid in the team's buildup in the offseason, firing 21 points, six rebounds, five steals, and two blocks in the Golden Stags' victory over the Red Lions.
Seven of those points came in the fourth quarter where San Sebastian held San Beda to a solitary point for the last 5:08 to pull off the shocker.
Are refused to take credit for the turnaround and said that the statement win is a testament to San Sebastian's relentless effort on defense.
"Thank God kasi naglaro kami as a team. Sabi nga ni coach, sa fourth quarter talaga kami pumukpok sa defense. Worth it naman lahat dahil yung mga game plan nagawa namin," he said.
It's also Are's way of making the most of his chances as he looks to pick up where his elder brother Michael left off and help steer the Golden Stags back to contention.
"Malaking oportunidad na nakapaglaro ako sa San Sebastian. Marami na akong natutunan kasi since juniors, naglalaro na ako sa San Sebastian. Yung system parehas lang, madali ko lang na-adapt at masaya naman ako na nagawa namin yun this game at nag-good defense kami," he said.
Macaraya says the challenge for Are is sustaining his defensive tenacity every game.
"Sa totoo talaga, when I saw Paeng after the pandemic, nakita ko kasi na magaling siyang dumepensa which is kailangan kong pamalit sa elder brother niyang si Michael. So I told Paeng na I’ll give him a chance in hopes na magpatuloy niya yung magandang depensa niya because the offense will always come," said Macaraya, who displayed full trust on the neophyte's offensive capabilities.
"So far naman, nakikita naman yung consistency and hustle niya sa laro." Juris Salvanera
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