But it only takes someone seven inches shorter to make the NLEX rising star bleed for his points.
Calvin Oftana on Mark Barroca among best defenders
“Wala naman ako kinaiinisan, pero kung sa laro, si kuya Mark,” the sophomore forward said with a chuckle. “Hindi ako makagalaw sa kanya eh.”
“Sa sobrang tangkad ko tapos nandito siya sa paa ko, parang umuupo na siya para depensahan ako tapos hindi ako makagalaw. Sabi ko, ‘Pano ba ‘to?’” he added of the 5-foot-10 lynchpin.
In their three games in the PBA Philippine Cup quarterfinals, Oftana still delivered on offense, averaging 19 points on 42-percent shooting, but Barroca still left an impression and had the last laugh as the Chicken Timplados eliminated the Road Warriors.
“Pero hindi naman yung naiinis na gusto mong labanan. Parang naiiinis ka lang sa sobrang higpit ng depensa,” Oftana said of Barroca, a two-time All-Defensive Team member and two-time Finals MVP.
Asked if Barroca is among the best defenders he’s ever faced, Oftana agreed without batting an eyelash.
“Matic,” he said of the 36-year-old point guard, whose recent play has gotten him in fan talks about the notable names left out of the Gilas pool.
Oftana also mentioned two other point guards in Barroca’s teammate in Jio Jalalon and San Miguel’s Chris Ross who are among the top defenders in the PBA.
“Mapapaisip ka rin kung anong magandang gawin. Matututo ka din,” Oftana said.
Let’s see if Oftana can apply those lessons against international defenders if he makes the Gilas lineup.