At 32, surprise Meralco starter Bryan Faundo gets shot at maiden PBA Finals appearance
Meralco's Bryan Faundo holds his ground against import Rob Dozier. Jerome Ascano

BRYAN Faundo relished his return to the starting lineup, providing Meralco a huge lift in its 86-70 victory over Alaska in Game Four of their PBA Commissioner’s Cup semifinal series on Monday night.

Thrust into the starting lineup after coming off the bench in the last two games, the journeyman big man repaid coach Norman Black’s faith by putting up 12 points on 6-of-12 shooting, seven boards, and one assist in 25 minutes.

“Nagbigay sa akin ng burst of confidence yung pag-start ko kasi nandoon yung tiwala ni coach,” Faundo said. “Nagpapasalamat din ako dahil naka-contribute ako sa team.”

“Sabi lang sa akin, be decisive sa kung anong gagawin ko, kung ititira o ipapasa,” he added. “Must win na kami. Tie or die kami ngayon kaya laban lang kami ng laban kung saan man mapunta yung series na ito.”

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The 6-foot-6 big man complemented Bolts import Arinze Onuaku, going almost automatic from mid-range.

“Nung sinabi sa akin ni coach na magsa-start ako, ako yung parang fit sa laro ni Arinze, na kapag pinasahan niya ng bola, kayang tumira pag open,” Faundo said.

Now, the 32-year-old six-year pro has a chance to make it to his first-ever finals appearance.

“Hanggang semis lang ako (dati),” he admitted. “Pag nabigyan ako ng chance, first time ko makaapak sana sa Finals."

“So wala ng bukas,” he added. “Ibigay na lahat ng kayang ibigay.” 

Follow the writer on Twitter: @KarloSacamos