PETRON import Elijah Millsap admitted the hard foul inflicted on him by Ryan Arana had awakened the monster in him that led to a new personal conference high in scoring and a 91-83 win for the Boosters in the opener of the PBA Governors' Cup semifinals opposite Rain or Shine.
Millsap was whistled for a technical foul for throwing the ball at Arana after the tough Elasto Painters guard committed a hard foul on him while going for a basket.
Chris Tiu made the technical free throw to make it a 77-73 lead for Rain or Shine with 6:50 left in the game.
That ignited something inside the 24-year-old Millsap.
“Yeah, I pride myself in taking the challenge when they foul me hard. I’m not one of the players who will back down from any contact,” said the Petron import.
Shortly after the technical foul, Millsap took matters into his own hands.
He scored the Boosters’ next 11 points and single-handedly brought the team back, with his three-point basket at the 3:43 mark giving Petron an 84-81 lead it will never relinquish.
The high-scoring import eventually finished with 41 points – surpassing his previous best of 35 points he made against Alaska.
“I don’t focus on points. I just really focus on winning and just glad at helping my team win tonight,” he said when asked about his new personal-scoring high in the PBA.
On a 10-game winning run – the longest for the franchise in the last 24 years -- the Boosters are actually now just two victories away from returning to the Finals for the first time since the 2011 Governors' Cup.
But Millsap, soft spoken and humble, is not yet looking that far ahead.
“We just can’t worry about the Finals, we’ll just focus Rain or Shine for Game Two,” he said. “We have to give them respect, they’re the defending champion, and I don’t think they won’t die that easy.”