JAY Washington was left dumbfounded by Talk ‘N Text coach Jong Uichico’s decision to bench him the entire Game Two of the PBA Commissioner’s Cup Finals against Rain or Shine on Friday night.
The versatile big man was helpless of the bench as he watched the Tropang Texters waste a 17-point lead on the way to dropping a 116-108 decision to the Elasto Painters that evened the best-of-seven series at one game all.
“I was ready to play,” Washington told Spin.ph after his surprise benching.
Washington played nearly 17 minutes in the series opener which Talk 'N Text won, scoring five points on 1-of-6 shooting to go with two rebounds.
He was also coming off a semifinal series against Purefoods where he averaged 27.8 minutes in four games. The Fil-American has season averages of 8.1 points, 4.3 rebounds, .9 assist, .5 block and 21.8 minutes through 32 games.
Uichico, who re-acquired Washington in a trade with GlobalPort shortly after assuming the reins at Talk 'N Text from Norman Black, declined to talk much about Washington's benching.
“It was a coach’s decision,” Uichico said without elaborating.
Matchups could’ve left Washington on the bench as the Painters fielded a small lineup in Game Two that had three guards, Gabe Norwood thrust to the power forward spot, and Wayne Chism as the lone big man, that finished the game.
The Texters matched up with a quintet of Ivan Johnson, Ranidel de Ocampo, Larry Fonacier, Aaron Aban, and Jayson Castro.
But the 6-foot-7 Washington felt he could’ve been a factor, especially on defense after starting to carve out a reputation as an import stopper in the Final Four against the Hotshots’ Denzel Bowles.
“Of course (I could’ve helped the team)," the two-time Best Player of the Conference stressed. "We could’ve done a better job defensively.”
Still, Washington didn’t question his coach’s decision.
“I respect him coaching,” he insisted. “That’s his job. My job is to play when my number’s called.”