Role player Dave Marcelo proud to fill the slack as Ginebra starters struggle vs NLEX
Ginebra back-up center Dave Marcelo finished with 10 points on 4-of-5 shooting, and added three rebounds and two blocks in 11 minutes of play. Jerome Ascano

BACK-up big man Dave Marcelo was quick to grab the opportunity when it presented itself on Sunday night.

In collusion with rookie Scottie Thompson, Marcelo pprovided the spark in a big Ginebra fightback that led to an epic 91-90 comeback win over NLEX Road Warriors in the Smart Bro-PBA Philippine Cup.

The four-year center out of San Beda was called upon by coach Tim Cone just when everything else wasn’t going Ginebra’s way late in the third period.

Marcelo ably filled in the slack as he poured in eight points in the fourth quarter at the height of the Kings’ huge rally to help the league’s crowd darling turn the tide to its favor. He finished with 10 points on 4-of-5 shooting, and added three rebounds and two blocks in 11 minutes of play.

“As part of the second unit, siyempre gusto lang namin matulungan na makahabol `yung team, especially 'yung first five namin medyo nag-struggle. Siyempre, hindi naman everyday Christmas,” said Marcelo when asked about his best game so far in the all-Filipino conference.

“Luckily, sinuwerte naman.”

[See Ginebra lives up to never-say-die reputation, completes big fightback against NLEX]

The 26-year-old Marcelo, acquired by the Kings in a complex four-team trade middle of last season, said he doesn’t mind playing supporting role to the team’s resident Twin Towers of Greg Slaughter and Japeth Aguilar.

“OK lang naman sa akin 'yun. I understand my role dito sa team,” he said.

And despite the limited playing time, Marcelo said his confidence hasn’t diminish a bit, saying with a smile, ‘lagi namang andiyan lang yan.’

And it did show as he came through with several clutch jumpers that helped the Kings overhaul a once commanding 75-53 NLEX lead late in the third quarter.

“Actually kabado nga ako during the game,” he admitted. “Siyempre, naghahabol kami, so isang error lang malaking kawalan agad sa amin.”

But he did deliver in the win that relived Ginebra’s never-say-die spirit, well enough to earn post-game credit from no less than Cone himself.

 “Masaya kasi nanalo `yung team. Siyempre, wala naman gustong natatalo,” said Marcelo.

[See Scottie Thompson hoping, praying shoulder injury isn't serious]

Follow the writer on Twitter: @gerardmos