'Elder statesman' PJ Simon doesn't mind playing lesser minutes than Lee, Barroca: 'Sila naman ang future'
PJ Simon's minutes at Star are down to 15.5 minutes a game this season. Jerome Ascano

PJ Simon doesn’t mind playing less than he’s used to at Star as he has started to accept his new role as the elder statesman among the Hotshots.

The Hotshots star played less than 14 minutes in the 88-77 win over TNT KaTropa, scoring just two points – tying his lowest output this conference – on 1-of-5 shooting, and three boards, against two turnovers.

“Okay lang yun (limited playing time),” said Simon, who came in seeing just 15.5 minutes of action in his first seven games. “Ganun naman talaga eh. Ang importante nanalo kami. And actually, masaya nga ako pag ganun lang, lahat kasi parang equal lang ang playing time.”

“Hopefully, sana lahat kami ma-embrace yung role naming lahat,” he added. “Yun naman yung goal namin: manalo talaga.”

Star having more weapons has, at least, made his job easier.

“Oo, mas madali (ang trabaho) kasi mas malalim yung rotation namin,” said Simon, now the second oldest player in the team after Rafi Reavis at 36.

[See Delight for Paul Lee as Star spreads the wealth]

Paul Lee, Mark Barroca, Jio Jalalon, and Justin Melton played more minutes than Simon, with Lee (32:47) and Barroca (25:26) playing the most among the backcourt players as they finished the game for the Hotshots.

Jalalon, the rookie standout, saw action for more than 23 minutes - right around his 23.3 average coming into the game.

“Deserve naman nila yun and sila naman yung next talaga, sila naman yung future, so alam ko naman kung anong role ko sa team,” Simon admitted. “Ang importante ma-guide ko sila, at manalo kami, makaabot sa playoffs.”

“Napakaganda nga dahil start pa lang, parang beterano na rin sila eh,” he added. “Marunong na rin sila mag-finish ng game.”

And if number is called by head coach Chito Victolero, Simon assured he'll be ready.

 “And kung kailangan ako ni coach anytime, wala namang problema,” the 13-year veteran concluded. “Ready naman ako.”

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Follow the writer on Twitter: @KarloSacamos