MARK Barroca is fast carving a reputation as a clutch player - and much of it he credits to the man he calls the 'master of the triangle,' whose name is not Tim Cone.
Barroca said much of his improved play this season has something to do with the work he does with acknowledged mentor Johnny Abarrientos, the legendary PBA point guard who now serves as one of Cone’s deputies at San Mig Super Coffee.
“Tinuturo lagi ni coach Johnny sa akin 'yung timing sa pag-pasa or pag-tira. Si coach Johnny kasi, master yan ng triangle (offense),” said Barroca, referring to his fellow Far Eastern University alumnus who won several championships, including a Grand Slam in 1996, as the star point guard of the Alaska team under Cone and his patented triangle offense.
So far, Barroca has been the big difference in the PLDT myDSL-PBA Philippine Cup semifinals series between San Mig and top seed Barangay Ginebra as the Mixers regained the upperhand following a 97-89 win in Game Three on Sunday night.
Barroca scored a career-high 25 points, grabbed eight rebounds, issued five assists, and had a steal and a block to help the Mixers grab a 2-1 lead in the best-of-seven series.
It was the second time in three games the 5-foot-10 playmaker came to the Mixers’ rescue following his game-winning shot in an 85-83 win in the series opener last week.
Averaging 12.3 points, 6.6 rebounds, 3.6 assists, and 1.6 steals in 29.6 minutes of action in the first three games of the series, Barroca earned a third straight Accel-PBA Player of the Week citation for the period covering January 25 to February 2.
In his third year as a pro, Barroca knows he’s got a lot more to learn in the complicated system being employed by Cone.
But with Abarrientos pulling him aside during timeouts or dead ball situations, Barroca intently listens as he tries to absorb from the wealth of experience of the 43-year-old league great.
“Madalas niya sabihin, i-relax ko lang sarili ko saka humanap lang ng mismatches sa laro saka importante, huwag lang manggigil sa laro,” added the San Mig playmaker.