BOCAUE, Bulacan – Anjo Caram played so well against Ginebra on Sunday night at the Philippine Arena that it looked like Meralco was still fighting to extend the finals of the last PBA Governors Cup in the same venue.
After losing to the Gin Kings in a best-of-seven series that went the distance, the Bolts gained a measure of payback as they hacked out an 84-82 win over the Gin Kings in their Philippine Cup matchup.
The pint-sized Caram was among those who stood tallest, firing a career-high 16 points on 6-of-12 shooting, on top of three boards, and one steal in 30 minutes as he repaid coach Norman Black’s trust after getting a rare start.
“Syempre sobrang sarap ng feeling na panalo kami,” Caram said. “First of all kasi, gusto pa namin pumasok sa quarters eh, so parang yung sinasabi sa amin ni coach, yung remaining games namin, treat namin as championship game.”
“And going into this venue, ang dami naming masamang memories dito eh, so syempre parang motivation na rin sa amin na gusto namin manalo kalaban Ginebra,” he added.
Caram was glad that the Bolts gave the Gin Kings a dose of their never-say-die medicine as they fought back from eight points down, 77-69, and took the lead for good after a Jason Ballesteros putback with 36 seconds left.
Caram also kept in step on defense with Gin Kings star playmaker LA Tenorio, who was held to just five points after missing all but one of his eight shots, and committed three turnovers in almost 42 minutes of play as a starter.
“Well, siguro everytime you play against Ginebra, talagang kalaban mo rin yung crowd, ‘di ba? Kailangan you have to be at your best para magkaroon ng chance na manalo,” Caram said.
“And especially kay LA, syempre alam naman natin na he's a very good player and one of the stars in the league. Ang magagawa mo lang naman is to give your best pag kalaban mo sila,” he added.
As a result, the Bolts stayed alive in the playoff race – although barely – at 4-6, leaving them in a must-win situation again in their last game against Magnolia.
“Syempre wala kaming choice kundi paghirapan talaga,” Caram said. “At gusto namin talaga manalo kasi ‘di pa naman tapos eh. It ain’t over til its over, ‘di ba? So iti-treat pa rin namin yung game na yun na parang championship game kasi pag natalo kami dun wala na eh.”