ANTIPOLO – Jay Washington hardly gets substantial playing time these days, so when he does get on the floor, he makes it worthwhile.
The veteran big man made the most of his opportunity at crunch time as he came through for Rain or Shine late in the 95-88 win over Blackwater in their PBA Commissioner’s Cup matchup on Sunday.
Coming in averaging a mere 5.8 minutes in the first two games of the PBA Commissioner’s Cup, Washington saw 14 minutes of action this time, staying in the floor down the stretch and repaying coach Caloy Garcia’s faith with back-to-back triples that practically sealed the deal for the Elasto Painters.
“It was pretty good timing,” the 35-year-old former Best Player of the Conference said. “Just happy to get the win, help the guys out, help the team.”
“Didn't play a lot of minutes, but the minutes that I was out there, I just try to be productive,” he added.
[See Jay Washington clutch as Rain or Shine stays unbeaten]
With Raymond Almazan failing to live up to expectations, fellow rotation big man Beau Belga hobbled by fouls, and Jewel Ponferrada not able to buy a basket, Garcia turned to Washington.
“Beau was in foul trouble, our import was doing a good job, ang problema dun is Raymond looked tired today and Jewel was trying hard and just couldn’t make the baskets, so I had to take a gamble on Jay-Wash,” Garcia said.
“We know Jay-Wash is a very experienced player and coming in that situation that he didn’t hesitate to shoot, it was a big shot,” he added of the three-time Mythical First Team member. “Kudos kay Jay-Wash.”
Washington, who finished with six points on 2-of-3 three-point shooting, six boards, two assists, and one block off the bench, said he’s getting more comfortable with his teammates after having one conference with them under his belt.
“It's really a feeling-out process last conference, as much as we wanted to contribute and help everybody win, it was still chemistry,” he said. “It doesn't happen overnight. I think we both feel a lot more comfortable now with our new team. Hopefully [we] can get them back to where they were in that championship form.”