GARY David insisted that it was Meralco’s defense, more than him putting up a virtuoso offensive performance, that proved a major factor in the Bolts’ first-ever win in the PBA Philippine Cup - an 87-83 defeat of Star on Saturday.
The Bolts gunner fired 26 points, including the Bolts’ last 11 as he carried his team on his back down the stretch.
“Kailangan gawin namin ang lahat ng maiko-contribute namin, ang akin, sa scoring, pero meron ding ibang departments na kailangan gawin para manalo,” David said. “We have to play defense talaga at this game, dumepensa kami. Low-scoring, pero yun ang kailangan namin para manalo.”
The Bolts held the Hotshots to 39 percent shooting and forced them to 23 turnovers that turned into 16 points.
“Babalik na ang kumpyansa namin sa sarili at sa buong team,” he added. “Natanggal yung tinik. Makakalakad kami ng buo sa Meralco dahil nabigyan na namin sila ng isang panalo.”
Relegated to the bench as the Bolts’ sixth man last season, David was thrust back into the starting lineup this year and has looked more comfortable, providing much-need scoring punch.
“He has given us a lot of stability, that’s why I moved him to the starting lineup,” Bolts coach Norman Black said.
“We needed his scoring off the bench last season, but at this point and looking at how my team is performing, we need his points every minute of the game,” he added of the man known as “El Granada."
The 37-year-old David missed 13 of his 25 shots, but made the ones that mattered most, including a driving layup that gave the Bolts en eight-point cushion.
“Online naman yung mga tira ko, pero bitin. Nilapit ko na lang,” the Gilas Pilipinas standout said. “Basketball to eh, kaya ang midset ko, di nawawala ang kumpyansa sa sarili. I believe na papasok at papasok yung tira ko.”
“Gary’s going to miss shots and make shots, but what I want him to do is stay aggressive and I want him to understand that he has to produce offensively for us to win games,” Black said.