MOHAMMAD Jamshidi's departure is proving to be a blessing in disguise for Meralco in its PBA Governors’ Cup campaign.
Playing in their second game after parting ways with their Asian import, the Bolts showed better chemistry in a 105-90 rout of depleted Blackwater team on Wednesday night.
Bolts star point guard Alapag felt Jamshidi couldn’t get a rhythm in his stay with the Bolts after arriving late in their campaign following a stint with the Iranian national team.
“It’s tough. Anytime you bring somebody new to the team, the camaraderie and the chemistry … and for MJ, the adjustment – it was his first time playing outside Iran – and things happened pretty quickly,” Alapag said after their win that brought them back above water with a 4-3 win-loss card.
Jamshidi, who averaged just 5.2 points on a dismal 25.7-percent shooting, 2.6 rebounds, and 2.6 assists, against 2.8 turnovers in 16.3 minutes in five games, was also set to leave the Bolts in the middle of the conference to rejoin his national team for their Fiba Asia Challenge Cup stint.
“If he would’ve stuck around, he would’ve only been around for another week or so then he’d had to leave for the Fiba Asia,” Alapag explained. “So even if he would’ve adjusted and played better, he leaves for another two weeks and by the time he comes back, we’re getting ready for the quarterfinals.”
“So it was just an unfortunate situation and a little bit of a timing issue,” he added. “But he’s still a great guy. I had a chance to talk to him a lot while he was here and he’s a great young player and he’s one of the key guys for Iran for their future. I wish him the best and I’m sure we’ll see him again.”
The rediscovered chemistry was evident in the Bolts' 25 assists, with six coming from Alapag, who completed his stat line with eight points after making all his three shots — two from beyond the arc, on top of four boards in 26 minutes as the team bounced back from a painful double-overtime loss to Globalport last Sunday.
“The great thing about losing that game was that we had a quick turnaround,” Alapag said. “I thought our effort was better tonight and we were sharper with our execution.”
“Every game’s important in such a short format. You want to rack up as many as wins as possible to get ready for the playoffs,” he added.