BRIAN Heruela made the most of his extended playing time on the court, playing an instumental role as San Miguel rolled to its fifth straight win in the PBA Philippine Cup.
With Alex Cabagnot out due to plantar fasciitis, Heruela came off the bench to score 17 points along with six steals and five assists in their 107-93 win over GlobalPort on Wednesday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Heruela's performance was so impressive that coach Leo Austria called his reserve guard a 'show stealer.'
"Talagang inagaw niya yung show kila June Mar [Fajardo], Arwind [Santos] at Marcio Lassiter," said Austria after the match.
"Pinakita niya yung what I've seen from him before. Slowly, sabi ko sa kanya, dirediretso na ito and yung kumpyansa niya hindi mawawala," he added.
The 28-year-old Heruela was naturally delighted upon hearing those words from his coach, saying that it's a major boost considering that Cabagnot's slated to be out for at least a month.
"Humbling compliment from my coach and a big boost for my confidence. So for me, I just do my job and stay ready and hopefully help my team win," he said.
Though the bulky guard from Cebu was just thankful for the opportunity given to him, he said that it's not a feat worth celebrating because it came at Cabagnot's expense.
"For us, it was bad news because Alex is a major part of our team," Heruela said.
"On my part, I'm just thankful for the opportunity and the trust that coach Leo and the coaching staff and management gave me. Guys off the bench we just stay ready and step up to the challenge."
The work doesn't stop here for Heruela, saying that they need to work doubly harder to fill the huge void that Cabagnot will be leaving. The 5-foot-10 guard, though, is ready for it and he believes that his fellow reserves are willing to answer to the call as well.
"We are always ready and we have to step up to the challenge. It's a big void that Alex left so hopefully, we can able to cover it up until he gets back," said Heruela.