THE transition from gunner to defensive stopper is not an easy thing for Jay Washington.
But he’s certainly enjoying the role shift especially in Talk ‘N Text’s ongoing PBA Commissioner’s Cup semifinals series against defending champion Purefoods.
Washington has his role well-defined in the best-of-five semifinals series – stop Purefoods import Denzel Bowles at all cost.
So far, so good.
The 6-foot-7 Fil-Am is having a measure of success as the Tropang Texters are currently ahead in their showdown against the Hotshots, 2-1, following their 111-107 win in Game Three Thursday night.
“I have a more defined role in this team especially in this series. That’s really my role, to try to make it hard for him (Bowles), to jam him, foul him if I need to,” Washington disclosed to Spin.ph
But he said the effort to stop the prolific import is not sorely on him alone.
“We take turns, me, Kelly (Williams), and RDO (Ranidel de Ocampo),” added Washington, who only averages 8.0 points in the series.
However, Washington felt he could still do better defensively against Bowles, who averaged 41 points in the first three games of the semis.
“I feel like I’m doing a good job on defense, pressuring him. But when he gets his shooting hand up, the ball hits nothing but net, which is pretty frustrating,” said the 33-year-old Washington.
“As much as I try to pressure him, he’s hitting everything in my face. But we try not to double him, try to stay home on their other weapons, and just make it tough for him.”
While Bowles gets his touches and still scores on his jumper even with his hand on his face, Washington’s job is to make sure the Purefoods import works for his shots, in the hope that he gets exhausted by the endgame.
“Our job mainly is to save our import (Ivan Johnson) from having to guard him and getting into foul trouble. And so far, the last two games, it’s been working for us. Though by the end of the game, he still finishes around 40 points,” he said.
“But you can see by the fourth quarter, he’s really exhausted. And that’s what our coaching staff wants.”
Come Game Four on Saturday, Washington said the Tropang Texters need to come out with an even better defensive effort in order to stop the Hotshots from forcing a do-or-die game.
“We need to come in with an even much more effort. We know they’re gonna play their scrappiest game, so we have to know that and try to be just as scrappy too and try to keep the effort up,” he added.