Allen Durham says new face mask does the trick after regaining old, deadly form
Allen Durham proved a handful even for Rain or Shine's bulky big men. Jaime Campos

IS it in the mask? Meralco import Allen Durham thinks so.

Durham discarded his transparent face mask for a black-colored one and immediately produced result by posting monster numbers in the Bolts’ wire-to-wire 109-102 win over Rain or Shine on Wednesday night in the PBA Governors Cup.

The 27-year-old Durham said he felt more comfortable wearing the black face mask than the previous one, which he claimed made him feel uncomfortable inside the court.

“This is a lot better than my first one so it’s a lot easier to play with,” he said following a 32-point, 12-rebound, and five-assist job for the Bolts, who improved to a 3-2 record.

“The first one I had was clear, heavy, and bulky. This one’s a little bit lighter so I can still do stuff like that.”

[See Quick-fire Meralco rides big game from Durham to send RoS crashing]

The native of Wyoming, Michigan averaged 35 points in his first two games with Meralco, both victories over Phoenix and Alaska.

Unfortunately, he got elbowed on the bridge of his nose during the team’s game against the Aces, resulting in a hairline fracture, and forcing him to wear a mask since then.

Obviously bothered playing with a face protector, Durham’s average went down to 15.5 points and 13 rebounds in the Bolts’ next two games, both losses against TNT Katropa and Barangay Ginebra.

Fitting in a new one made it a whole lot different for Durham.

He scored 12 points in the first quarter against the Elasto Painters and played a key role in the Bolts’ 16-0 run to start the game. He already had 20 by halftime and the Bolts firmly on top, 65-47.

So why the color black for a face mask?

“They had two colors, and this one’s the more fashionable, so this one’s that I chose,” he said laughing.

He said it was the first time ever he suffered an injury like this, which left him looking like retired NBA player Richard Hamilton while playing inside the court. The former Detroit Pistons great twice broke his nose during a game and wore a plastic face mask since then, a trademark that would earn him the moniker ‘The Mask.’

Durham simply laughed off the comparison with Hamilton, who won an NCAA championship with University of Connecticut in 1999 and an NBA title with the Pistons in 2004.

“I don’t know if I can be good as Rip Hamilton, he’s a legend,” he said. “But it’s (injury) getting better. I should be able to take this off a couple of weeks from now.”

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