MORE than being teammates, it’s the culture of brotherhood which import James Mays believed help San Mig clinched the PBA Commissioner’s Cup for its second straight title this season.
The unity and harmony forged among the Mixers during the course of the fast-paced mid-season conference made them confident of each other even in the midst of adversity.
No wonder that even a 17-point deficit in Game Four of the Finals Thursday night was not enough to rattle the team from coming back and completing the title-clinching win before a sizeable crowd at the Philsports Arena.
“Even when we’re down today (Thursday) by 17 points, no one gave up. We all kept fighting and we’re able to stick together and persevere,” said the 28-year-old Mays as he basked in the championship limelight right on his first tour of duty in the league.
“It was more like a brotherhood (in the team), that no matter what happens, or no matter how bad we play or I play, they always behind me, from coaches to players, to management.”
The 6-foot-8 import out of Clemson said he’ll definitely cherish his stint with the Mixers, whom he calls as some of the `best teammates’ he’d ever had in his basketball career.
“These are some of the best teammates I have in a long time since college. They are so encouraging, always want to hang out with each other’s houses. Almost like family, that no matter what happens, at end of the day, everybody forgets about it and moves on,” he said.
And it’s that feeling of togetherness, according to Mays, which allowed the Mixers to survive a long championship journey that was marred by a lot of bumps, bruises, and injuries.
“It’s just an incredible feeling, though I feel like emotional right now. It’s a long season, that’s rough, tough. I got sick and people counted us out, but at the end of the day, we triumph, champions,” he added.
With the 2014 season of the NBA about to end and the Summer Leagues just around the corner, Mays said he intends to enjoy the post-championship celebration for the time being with his teammates.
The San Mig import averaged 15.7 points, 13.2 rebounds, 3.75 steals, and 2.2 blocks in the Finals that saw the Mixers score a 3-1 series victory over the Tropang Texters.