WHILE he struck the dagger at the heart of Meralco with two crucial three-point shots in the final minute, Chris Ellis credited new Barangay Ginebra import Josh Powell for being the steady defensive force against the Bolts.
The 6-foot-4 Ellis erupted for 14 of his 16 points in the final period, but the high-leaping forward said he couldn’t have done that without Powell, who made sure the Gin Kings got the stops on the defensive end, which gave him the chance to run the open floor.
The high-flying sophomore said the former Los Angeles Laker was a steadying presence on the court and a good influence inside the locker room.
“Josh Powell is very soft-spoken, but he’s all business," said Ellis after the 88-78 win over Meralco. "He just brings more focus, seriousness and urgency to the team because nobody’s joking around in the locker room. Everybody’s just talking about the game, everybody’s aggressive mentally.”
Ellis said the former Los Angeles Laker Powell’s vast NBA experience was something that rubbed off on every Gin King from the opening tip off.
“You could just feel his experience on the court. Once you get the big men talking and the guards communicating with the big men, that starts something,” noted 'Air Force Ellis.'
The 25-year-old Ellis said he’s just happy to finally see his team execute well on offense, something the team failed to do during its first six games with Leon Rodgers.
“We’ve been practicing like crazy moving the ball, getting assists, getting the men open, proper screening, proper movement, proper spacing. Just anything to get the wide-open shots, just trying to stay aggressive,” said the No. 6 overall pick in the 2012 PBA rookie draft.
Ellis is confident that the 10-point victory over the Bolts can give the Gin Kings the momentum heading to their last two games as they try to make a strong push for the playoffs.
“We just have to keep communicating on offense and defense and then limiting our turnovers in the next games.”