JONAS Villanueva welcomed the backcourt help he is set to receive at NLEX for the upcoming PBA season.
With the Road Warriors’ lack of natural playmakers, Villanueva was thrust into the de facto starting point guard role last season and the veteran combo guard delivered by averaging 8.7 points, a career-high 3.97 assists, along with 3.6 boards, and 1.3 steals.
But the 32-year-old Villanueva will have plenty of reinforcements this year in Kevin Alas and Simon Enciso, who were both acquired from trades, joining Wynne Arboleda, Jong Baloria, Pamboy Raymundo, Borgie Hermida, and Villanueva in the loaded rotation.
“Yung makeup nung team, guard oriented kami ngayon,” he said while stressing the team still draws its biggest strength from its big men, led by Asi Taulava. “Yung plays namin medyo nag-adjust.”
What had been a shortage of point guards is now a surplus. But Villanueva is hardly concerned about his playing time.
“Sa akin, okay yun. Magandang problem yun for coach,” said the 6-foot guard, who averaged 31.1 minutes last season. “Hindi naman ako worried sa minutes kasi kung sino maganda nilalaro, siya maglalaro.”
“It’s all about performance, competing with each other, and making ourselves better dahil sa competition na ‘yun,” added Villanueva, who was particularly impressed with Enciso, who the Road Warriors acquired from Rain or Shine for a future second-round pick.
“Maganda yung set of skills niya,” he said of the explosive Filipino-American guard. “He can penetrate, may shooting, may passing. Hindi siya masyado na-hype sa draft, pero magaling.”
Enciso is one of NLEX’s four rookie signings along with Garvo Lanete, Glenn Khobuntin, and Jansen Rios, completing a youth movement that also adds depth to the squad.
“Kasi 'yun naman 'yung trend sa PBA: hindi lang dapat first five, kailangan may second five para meron kang laban sa good teams na grabe yung rotations nila,” Villanueva said.