IT says a lot about Alaska coach Alex Compton’s guts to trust benchwarmer rookie Abel Galliguez in the crucial minutes of a game and with the Aces' playoff hopes on the line.
But Galliguez, playing in only his third game as a pro, made the most of the opportunity when Compton inserted him at the start of the fourth quarter of the Aces’ 103-87 win over Phoenix in the PBA Governors’ Cup on Saturday at the Mall of Asia Arena.
The rookie playmaker scored just three points – a three-pointer – and grabbed one rebound in seven minutes of play, but made intangible contributions that repaid Compton’s faith.
“He came in and gave us some really quality minutes and did some things that people probably won’t talk about,” the American coach said. “There were some defensive things that he did that were great.”
The Aces’ 22nd overall pick in the last rookie draft, Galliguez had been a reserve in the two conferences before finally getting a chance to show his talent in the season-ending tournament.
“It's just a blessing,” the 26-year-old point guard said. “I thank the management and coach Alex for trusting me and believing in me for giving me a chance to play. I just want to continue to do my best, work hard in practice to keep earning more minutes.”
Galliguez feels he fits right into the Aces’ defense-centered system that translates into transition offense.
“I think I fit well in the system of Alaska, bring defensive pressure to the other guard, and hitting wide open shots,” the 5-foot-9 Filipino-American guard said.
“Just get my team in sync in offense because Im the point guard, but other than that, since I'm short, I gotta work hard and bring my 'smarts' in the game, make good reads on both defense and offense,” added Galliguez.