DYLAN Ababou’s loss is fast turning out to be Chris Ellis’ gain.
The exciting rookie showed a glimpse of his full potential when he steered Barangay Ginebra to a 99-76 blowout win over Air21 on Friday night in a lopsided PBA Philippine Cup game at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.
It was a one-sided match right from the start, no thanks to the scoring explosion of Ellis, who fired 13 of his game-high 18 points in the first half alone when the Kings ripped the game apart.
The No. 6 pick overall in the last rookie draft was 7-of-9 from the field, including a perfect 5-of-5 from the two-point region. He also had four rebounds in 25 minutes of play in his best game as a pro.
And all of these may not be possible had Ababou not been sidelined by an ACL injury that will force him to miss most of the league’s 38th season.
“After the loss of Dylan Ababou, we need somebody to fill up that role,” said Ellis after the game. “Actually, with the way everybody is playing, it’s really easy to fill that gap. As long as you play hard and play defense, everything else comes together.”
Known for his fan-pleasing plays, the high-flying Ellis again didn’t disappoint as he authored a rim-rattling tomahawk dunk off a fastbreak play that had the throng of pro-Ginebra supporters at the Big Dome up on their feet.
Ellis also provided an endgame highlight reel play in the Kings’ win over Rain or Shine last week when he went for a reverse slam dunk just before the final buzzer.
For the soft-spoken rookie, everything is just part of a player’s role to entertain the fans.
“I was just trying to get up a bit and look for a gap in the defense and try to entertain the crowd a bit,” he said.
But in entertaining the fans also comes the responsibility of winning, which is what he’s trying to do with the Kings.
“Our team is just really flowing, we’re comfortable with everybody’s capability. Everybody is on the same page with what we’re trying to do and we’re just moving forward,” he said.
With the way 'Air Force' Ellis has been playing, Ginebra has nowhere to go but up.