GINEBRA backup center Jay-Ar Reyes said he was surprised to find himself riding the bench in Game Three after coach Ato Agustin elected to limit his frontline rotation to Greg Slaughter, Japeth Aguilar and Billy Mamaril in a 89-97 loss to San Mig Super Coffee.
While Slaughter came away with a PBA career-high of 29 points, the 6-11 slotman out of Ateneo appeared spent towards the final minutes of the fourth period when the Mixers made the decisive move behind a three-guard rotation of Peter June Simon, Mark Barroca and rookie Justin Melton.
The 6-7 Reyes, who averaged 6.5 points, 5.5 rebounds and 1.5 assists in 14.5 minutes in the first two games of the series, felt he could have helped Slaughter by spelling him for a few minutes in Game Three, but nonetheless added that he respects Agustin’s decision.
“Di ko inaasahan 'yun (benching in Game Three) dahil crucial din 'yung game. Pero as a player, basta naman alam ko role ko, saka ready lang ako,” Reyes told Spin.ph after the team’s practice on Tuesday at the Green Meadows in Libis, Quezon City.
Reyes, who played briefly for the University of the Philippines Fighting Maroons in the UAAP, said he knows his role with the team, which is simply to back up Slaughter at the slot and provide the rebounding and defensive support for the Gin Kings.
“Basta naman maka-depensa ako saka makatulong sa rebound, yun ang gagawin ko, kasi importante talaga sa series yung makatulong kaming nasa second group. Siyempre, kung di kami makatulong, maba-balewala lang 'yung effort ng first group namin,” explained the Tiwi, Albay native.
The eight-year PBA pro said he is ready should the opportunity to play come in Game Four, vowing to provide quality minutes to ensure that Slaughter, Ginebra’s top rookie overall pick, gets the much-needed respite.
“Kaming mga big men, kailangang makatulong lang sa team kasi gaya ng nangyari sa Game One at Game Three, napagod sila Japeth (Aguilar) at Greg. Maganda naman ginawa ni Greg nung Game Three, pero naubos din siya sa dulo,” he said.