ONE airball from beyond the arc hardly dented Cory Jefferson’s confidence as he knocked down the ones that mattered most, leading Alaska to a 105-102 victory over Rain or Shine in their PBA Commissioner’s finals rematch on Sunday night.
After going short on his first attempt from long distance in the first quarter, the Aces import buried five of his next seven tries - none bigger than the one from the right wing with 30.1 seconds left that gave them the lead for good at 101-99.
“My teammates are a big part of that, keeping my confidence up,” Jefferson said. “I started out the first one with an airball, but my teammates know that I can shoot it and kept telling me to just shoot. They kept my confidence up and I just shot the ball.”
That go-ahead triple capped his individual offensive brilliance that saw him explode for 41 points on 17-of-32 shooting overall, along with 13 boards, three assists, and one block in 41 minutes.
“We’ll just continue what we’ve been doing, try to help my team,” Jefferson said. “Try to hit the open shots when they’re there, find the open man if there’s a double, and just continue to try to play solid defense.”
That’s because 26-year-old do-it-all big man is eager to use this stint as a springboard back to the NBA after making stops with the Brooklyn Nets and the Phoenix Suns.
“Hopefully. Anytime you’re on the floor, you try to put your best product,” Jefferson, who also earlier expressed wouldn't mind playing for Gilas Pilipinas in the future, said. “While I’m here, I’ll try to play the best I can.”
For now, he’s focused on the task at hand – leading the Aces back to the finals.
“We still have a lot to work on,” Jefferson said. “We’re happy to be four-zero, we’ll enjoy it for the night and continue working on it after today.”