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    Buenafe shines as Barako Bull gets off to a hot start in Philippine Cup

    Nov 25, 2013
    Ronjay Buenafe leads a much-maligned Barako Bull to a share of the early lead. Nuki Sabio / PBA Images

    BARAKO Bull gunner Ronjay Buenafe’s back-to-back solid games to start the PBA’s 39th season led the Energy Cola to a surprise 2-0 start and earned him the Accel-PBA Press Corps Player of the Week honors for the period of Nov. 18-24.

    The 6-foot-2 Buenafe, a shooting guard out of Emilio Aguinaldo College, played like a man on a mission during the team’s season-opening 88-75 ripping of Air21, before leading Barako Bull’s fourth quarter charge on Sunday on the way to a 97-93 come-from-behind win over Alaska.

    Buenafe’s consistent offense enabled him to beat the likes of Petron’s Arwind Santos, Barangay Ginebra’s Japeth Aguilar and Globalport rookie Terrence Romeo for the citation.

    “Ronjay Buenafe is a very coachable player,” said Barako Bull coach Bong Ramos. “He’s always practicing hard and is always shooting around extra shots before and after training. He listens and follows instructions. Good attitude, great player.”

    The 30-year-old Energy Cola off guard opened the season shooting an efficient 10-for-17 from three-point land on the way to averaging 19 points in just 24 minutes of play.

    The Barako Bull veteran guard said he’s happy to have found a home with the Energy Cola after finding himself bouncing from Coca-Cola, Burger King, Air21, Rain or Shine and Meralco during his first six seasons in the PBA. 

    “I’m inspired po siguro sa mga teammates ko and family,” said Buenafe, No. 11 pick overall by Coca-Cola in the 2007 Rookie Draft. “It’s so nice to go to practice knowing you have very supportive teammates and coaching staff.”

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    Buenafe shot 11 points against the Express, before following it up with a personal conference-high 27 against the Aces.

    Against Alaska, Buenafe capped his game-long brilliance with an off-balanced floater that proved to be the final go-ahead basket to lead the Barako Bull’s fightback from a15-point fourth quarter deficit.

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    Ronjay Buenafe leads a much-maligned Barako Bull to a share of the early lead. Nuki Sabio / PBA Images
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