DESPITE earning back-to-back Best Player of the Game honors, San Mig sophomore guard Mark Barroca humbly deflected the credit to his teammates in the aftermath of the Mixers’ 114-103 win over Petron Sunday for a 3-2 series lead in the PBA Governors Cup Finals.
The 5-foot-10 Barroca shot a career high-tying 22 points and a career-high 10 assists in 34 minutes of action.
But more importantly, his energy on the defensive end was superb, preventing Petron import Elijah Millsap from taking over during the crucial stretches of the final period.
“Ang game plan namin was limit his (Millsap) touches from the first half. Kasi si Millsap kung umiskor dire-diretso eh. Coast to coast siya kaagad pag may bola, kaya set defense lang kami,” explained the 27-year-old product of Far Eastern University.
Barroca managed to use his quickness and pesky defensive approach in ensuring the younger brother of NBA player Paul Millsap will chew up some time on every possession before attacking.
And by the time the 6-foot-4 Millsap starts driving in or looking to kick the ball out to his teammates, the Boosters would have consumed much of their shot clock.
“Sa akin, basta depensahan ko lang siya, asawahin ko siya, pero tinutulungan pa rin ako ng team sa defense,” he added.
However, Millsap said Barroca’s pesky defense hardly bothered him, saying the San Mig guard’s approach was a ploy to force him to just pass or shoot from the outside.
“He (Barroca) didn’t affect me at all. It’s the adjustment that they (Mixers) made,” said Millsap, who still finished with 37 points after scoring 26 in the second half.
“It’s about picking their poison agianst me. Did they want me to score or did they want me to pass? Whether that’s Barroca on me, (Alex) Mallari or (Marqus) Blakely on me, we just need to get back and play Petron basketball,” he added.
The Boosters have two days to make some key adjustments before squaring off with the Mixers in Game Six at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.