IT’S not that his offense has totally abandoned him; nor was there any instruction for him not to shoot the ball.
Plain and simple, Dorian Pena just happened to have an injured hand in his first game with Barako Bull in the PBA Governors Cup.
“No, I dislocated my left knuckle,” Pena explained to Spin.ph while showing off his left hand still bandaged with a golden yellow kinesio tape. “I wasn’t really expecting to play tonight.”
A sizeable crowd at the Smart Araneta Coliseum was left puzzled as the burly Fil-American hesitated taking a shot not just once even though he was wide-open underneath in the Energy Cola’s game against Meralco Bolts Sunday.
It turned out his injured hand hurts with the mere touch of the ball.
“I have a hard time shooting the ball. Just a touch of it gives me pain,” added Pena, who’s more than happy to have contributed to Barako Bull’s nail-biting 90-89 win.
The 35-year-old former Coppin State University stalwart never attempted to shoot during the course of his 17-minute tour of duty with the George Chua franchise.
He had two open opportunities to score a field goal, an open look at the baseline off an offensive rebound, and one posting up against Meralco guard Chris Ross.
But on both occasions, Pena opted to pass the ball that led to the two assists across his stats sheet.
The wide-bodied banger ended up grabbing seven rebounds and a steal, although he missed two crucial free throws down the strecth.
Pena said he sustained the injury after his hand got caught in June Mar Fajardo’s jersey in practice with the Petron Blaze Boosters, a few days before he was traded for Doug Kramer and a future pick last week.
Barako Bull coach Bong Ramos revealed it was his suggestion to field in Pena against Meraclo as he was very much missed when he sat out the Energy Cola’s heartbreaking 118-113 overtime loss to Talk N Text last week.
“Hindi pa kasi kabisado ni Dorian ang play namin. Kaya nag-he-hesitate si Rajko (Toroman) na gamitin siya. Sabi ko beterano yan kayang mag-adjust niyan,” said Ramos, who was obviously satisfied with the gamble he made.
“Sayang nga kasi kung ginamit namin siya against Talk `N Text, sigurado ako nakatulong rin siya ng malaki sa amin,” added the outspoken coach.
Even Barako Bull import Michael Singletary was all praises for the performance of his new teammate.
“He is a big dude, man. He’s definitely a difference maker. Dorian takes up a lot of space and that punishes the opposing team,” Singletary said while hoping Pena recovers from the hand fracture immediately.
“I hope he recovers fast. He’s a big dude, he’ll be alright. We don’t necessary need him to take 30 shots. He just comes in and rebound and play defense for us like tonight. It’ll be great for this team,” he added.
Singletary also lauded Pena for recognizing his cuts to the basket that resulted in two crucial baskets.
“He’s a smart player, his arrival turned out to be good for us (Barako Bull). He wasn’t turning around to take the basket so I just cut to the bucket and tried to get the pass and he did. It worked out,” said the former Texas Tech standout.
“Pena and his assist literally changed the momentum of the game,” he added.
Meanwhile, Pena bared his injury might take a long time to heal but he vows to play on with it.
“I’m on a mission right now. So you were saying I made a difference in this game for Barako Bull, I think so too,” he concluded before showing a wide grin.