WHILE Justin Melton is making a splash for San Mig in the PBA Philippine Cup playoffs, an online clamor is beginning to snowball among Barangay Ginebra fans who want to see James Forrester match up against his fellow rookie.
Forrester vowed he will be ready when that happens.
“Three more games in the semis, so if I get the chance to play, I’ll be ready," said the former star of the Arellano Chiefs in the NCAA who was taken No. 4 overall in the last PBA rookie draft - nine places ahead of Melton.
Fans feel the 6-1 3/4 Forrester has the quickness and athleticism to match up well with Melton, who has taken advantage of mismatches to make an impact in San Mig's backcourt alongside Mark Barroca.
Unlike Melton, Forrester has yet to get a break with the Gin Kings, having played a grand total of four minutes in the San Mig series and nine games in his pro career, averaging 1.2 points and 1.1 rebounds.
The Fil-Canadian guard, however, understands his situation considering he’s buried in a deep Ginebra backcourt rotation that includes LA Tenorio, Mark Caguioa, Jayjay Helterbrand, Eman Monfort and Josh Urbiztondo.
“I’m just trying to be patient. I understand what coach Ato (Agustin) is doing, trying to go with players who’s got playoff experience,” said Forrester, referring to Tenorio and Co.
Still, Forrester said he’s happy to know that Ginebra fans appreciate his skill, although he insisted that he is leaving it all up to Ginebra coach Ato Agustin to make the call.
“I’ll just leave it up to coach Ato, though I’m glad the fans would support me,” he said.
While waiting for his big break, Forrester said he is thankful to teammates like former league MVP Caguioa, who has supported and encouraged him to put in the work so he could keep getting better.
“One of the biggest things I learned from Kuya Mark is that there’s a reason why I’m in the PBA. He was telling me that I have skills, which I shouldn’t let go to waste,” said the 23-year-old Ginebra rookie.
“So I just have to be professional about it and play my game because confidence is the very key especially if you’re a bench warmer.”