BARAKO Bull’s recent six-game losing streak in the PBA Philippine Cup has merited the Energy with hardly any attention. It has also overshadowed the solid efforts of its veteran acquisitions in past games.
Denok Miranda, Mark Isip, and Willy Wilson have all been having a renaissance with the Energy Cola this season, but another grizzled cager who has flashed his vintage form is Willie Miller.
They Said It!
“Kung pwede ko lang alisin yung free throw sa game, gagawin ko eh." - Barako Bull Guard and two-time PBA MVP Willie Miller
The 36-year-old two-time MVP, who is coming off his worst season as a pro, has quietly put up his best stretch in the season-opening conference.
But only few people noticed it because of his team’s early futility.
That until Sunday when the Energy Cola broke out their slump with a 99-86 shutting down of Meralco in the first game of the weekend doubleheader at the Mall of Asia Arena where the pride of Olongapo registered 14 points, including two three-pointers, on top of five rebounds, and four assists.
After posting career-lows in points (5.7), rebounds (2.2), and assists (1.7) assists, and minutes (17) in the recent Governors Cup — his last conference with Globalport before being traded to Barako, Miller is having a rebirth, averaging 12.5 points, 1.5 triples, 4.5 boards, and three assists in 29.8 minutes in the last four games.
He has especially shone down the stretch when he would make one big shot after another to reprise his “Miller Time” role, except for his three bungled free throws in the endgame that hastened their downfall against Talk ‘N Text.
The stigma was somehow erased after coming up with another notable performance that helped his team end its drought.
“Kailangan lang ng pasensya parati,” Miller said. “Puro short lang kami dati. Anytime we’re bound to win.”
Asked if is still trying to prove something in the twilight of his 12-year career, Miller shook his head.
“Not individually. Kailangan as a team,” Miller said. “It’s easy to prove something by yourself. Mag-buwakaw ka lang, kung anu-ano gawin mo, pwede naman.
“Pero ang pinakamaganda yung sa team. kailangan buo kayo na sumasaya eh.”
Miller said they just have to stick to coach Bong Ramos’ system whatever happens.
“And extra practice lang. and you have to get along with the players,” said Miller, a notoriously poor free-throw shooter in crunch time. “Kung pwede ko lang alisin yung free throw sa game, gagawin ko eh,” he added with a laugh.