NO way will rookie Emman Monfort disappoint his father right on his first-ever game as a PBA player.
When he stepped to the free throw line in the final seconds of Barako Bull’s Commissioner’s Cup encounter against reigning champion San Mig Coffee on Easter Sunday, and the outcome of the match still hanging in the balance, all the former Ateneo playmaker thought about was his father’s wrath.
Monfort appeared to have hurried the shot and missed the front-end of the foul throw, with the Energy Cola holding on to a slim 102-100 lead in the final 19 seconds.
Immediately, the rookie remembered his father, who’s currently in Iloilo.
‘Daddy ko kasi ayaw na ayaw niya na magmi-mintis ako ng free throw. Kaya `yung kanina naalala ko siya na hindi puwedeng mag-miss kasi magagalit sa akin `yun,” he said.
After gathering his thoughts and calming himself, he sank the second foul shot to give Barako a three-point lead and the cushion it needed to win the match, 105-100.
Monfort finished with just three points, but played solid in 16 minutes of action tending the backcourt for the Energy Cola in his debut game in the league.
“I was just looking for the win. Kahit hindi ako makalaro basta manalo lang kami. Bonus na lang sa akin `yung nakalaro ako at nakatulong sa team,” said the wily playmaker, a key player in four of Ateneo’s five UAAP men’s basketball championship runs.
A second round pick (No. 16 overall) by Barako Bull in the last draft, Monfort fractured his right hand twice and ended up sitting out the entire Philippine Cup and the early part of the import-laden conference.
He was already inserted to the Energy Cola lineup the last time, but wasn’t utilized by consultant Rajko Toroman in the team’s game against Barangay Ginebra.
Although there was no prior word from Toroman before the game that he will be fielded in against the Mixers, the 23-year-old point guard kept himself ready just in case his services were needed.
“Inisip ko lang talaga while sitting there and waiting for my turn kung ano `yung role ko sa team? Nakita ko kulang `yung energy so `yun ang binigay ko sa team,” he said.
When finally called upon by Toroman, Monfort didn’t waste time to show what exactly he can do.
The Ilongo native had a team-high five assists and a steal for Barako, while more than holding his own against San Mig’s starting point guard Mark Barroca.
“We got something from Emman Monfort. He’s playing good and I think he can help us a lot until the end of the conference,” said Toroman of his rookie point guard.
Thrilled by his PBA debut, Monfort is happier to see his team finally win after a six-game losing streak.
“Sobrang saya hindi lang para sa sarili ko, pero para sa buong team kasi matagal na rin kaming hindi nananalo,” said the 5-foot-6 Atenean.
For a job well done, Monfort got a high five after the game from his mother, who watched him in action at the Mall of Asia Arena.
For sure, his father watched him too, on television back in Iloilo, and may have absolved him from missing a free throw following the huge Barako Bull win.
Monfort’s final stats from the foul line by the way, read 3-of-4 shooting for a 75 percent clip.