KEVIN Racal showed he’s more than just a defensive lynchpin for Alaska as he delivered on offense down the stretch in a 103-98 win over Meralco in their PBA Philippine Cup matchup on Wednesday night.
Counted upon to defend the opponent’s best perimeter player, the 6-foot-3 wingman drained two pressure-packed three-pointers when the Aces need them most in the payoff period, the second from the right corner off JVee Casio that negated a KG Canaleta triple and gave Alaska a 93-86 lead with a little over two minutes left.
His heroics weren’t lost on Aces coach Alex Compton.
“I mean, that's the game,” Compton said. “We've been talking to K-Racs a lot, he's such a smart basketball player, he's such a great defender. He's a smart offensive player, he's just missing his shots.”
“So for him to have that breakthrough and step down and while he's out there to help us defensively, he knocks down two huge threes, I mean that's massive,” he added.
Racal said it was also one way for him to bounce back from his offensive struggles the past season.
“Siguro, kasi sabi nga nila tagal ko na rin walang magandang laro,” the third-year cager out of Letran said. “Siguro naswertehan lang din, and dahil din sa mga temmates ko kasi nalo-locate nila ako para malibre. And siyempre pinagpapraktisan ko rin, talagang nag-eextra work ako.”
More importantly, his dagger treys led to the Aces snapping a two-game skid to start the conference and grabbing only their fourth win in 22 games dating as far back as the last Commissioner’s Cup.
“Sabi nga ni coach Alex, new year, new life para sa'min,” the 26-year-old Racal said. “Mag-focus lang kami sa game plan namin. Ginawa namin yung sinasabi ng mga coaches - nagtulong-tulong sila so kailangan din namin magtulong-tulong sa loob ng court.”
“Kailangan lang namin i-sustain, i-maintain yung ginagawa namin para more wins pa,” he added.