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    Gabby Espinas plays back-up role to perfection after taking cudgels for foul-troubled teammates

    Apr 22, 2017
    Gabby Espinas gave a big boost off the bench to keep the Beermen's perfect start. Jaime Campos

    FOR Gabby Espinas, it’s just a matter of taking advantage whatever opportunity that comes his way in a talented team such as San Miguel.

    Saturday’s game against Rain or Shine is one perfect example.

    With import Charles Rhodes and big man June Mar Fajardo saddled with foul trouble, Espinas stepped up big-time and picked up from where his teammates left off after playing major minutes in the Beermen’s 111-98 rout of the Elasto Painters at the Mall of Asia Arena.

    [See Rhodes gets long-awaited payback on college rival Taggart]

    The veteran forward ended up as the top local scorer for the PBA Commissioner’s Cup leader, finishing with 15 points (6 of 9 shooting), eight rebounds, and four assists. He fired 10 points in the third period when the Beermen tore the game apart even with Rhodes sitting on the bench already with four fouls.

    “Sa akin yung points talaga bonus na lang kasi dito sa team namin hindi mo kailangang umiskor ng marami para manalo kami,” he said.

    The former NCAA Rookie-MVP from Philippine Christian University was even humble enough to say that even without him, the Beermen can still win games.

    "Hindi nga ako kailangang gamitin ni coach para manalo kami,” he added.

    But with Rhodes and Fajardo sitting on the bench, coach Leo Austria decided to turn to him for the needed muscle down low.

    Deliver Espinas did.

    “Talagang nag step-up lang kami lalo at foul trouble yung import, si June Mar,” he said.

    Continue reading below ↓

    [See Tardy Arwind makes up for lost time]

    Austria also made known that more than anybody else, it’s Espinas who contributed well for the Beermen to notch their fifth straight win.

    “Gabby is still there. Malaki ang contribution niya. Para sa akin siya yung best player of the game,” said the soft-spoken mentor. “I’m happy to see him contributing a lot.”

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    Gabby Espinas gave a big boost off the bench to keep the Beermen's perfect start. Jaime Campos
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