HE rarely gets playing time and when he did, it was usually forgettable. But for once, James Forrester showed a glimpse of the potential Barangay Ginebra saw in him when he was picked fourth overall in last year's draft.
With fellow guards Jayjay Helterbrand, Chris Ellis and josh Urbiztondo out with injuries, Forrester made the most of his extended minutes in the Kings’ 100-90 loss to Rain or Shine in the PBA Philippine Cup on Sunday night.
The Filipino-Canadian guard tallied just five points in 14 minutes, but his production came timely and - unlike in the past - he was very much in control of his game during a late Ginebra comeback.
Forrester insisted he wasn’t trying to prove a point.
“It’s not about the playing time I deserve. Luckily, I just had the opportunity,” the Arellano product said in a chat with Spin.ph after the game. “Guys were down and you always got to stay ready. That’s all I was trying to be today.”
Ellis was out with a swollen foot, Helterbrand sidelined by a painful groin, and Urbiztondo was hampered by back spasms. Birthday-boy Dylan Ababou was also nursing a strained calf muscle.
So Forrester seized the moment, scoring on a side-stepping layup in the third quarter and burying a right-wing triple that cut the lead to just 84-74 as he bounced back from a tentative start.
“My first shift was a little bit shaky, but the second one, I kind of got myself together a little bit,” he said with his head down.
And Forrester was glad to be part of a trademark Ginebra rally.
“To hear the crowd roar like that after a play, it’s a lot of positivity,” the 25-year-old sophomore wingman said. “That’s the first time I’ve ever felt that.
“To be honest, I still lack experience, so that, alone, was a learning curve for me.”
Now, he's hoping to pounce on more of these opportunities and, hopefully, string up more games like this one to finally crash the main rotation of Ginebra coach Jeffrey Cariaso.
But Forrester is staying patient.
“Whether the minutes are there or not, I’ll always be ready,” said Forrester, who traces his Filipino roots to Pangasinan. “I just want to help this team get a championship so bad.”
“I’m just cherishing every single moment. Life is too precious to dwell on anything,” he added. ‘This loss is already over.”