WHILE most PBA stars were enjoying the holiday break, one player has been hard at work.
Rain or Shine gunner Jeff Chan said he has deprived himself of a vacation to sharpen his shooting touch during the New Year break in a bid to snap out of a scoring slump in time for Game Six against San Mig Coffee on Thursday.
The sweet-shooting Bacolodnon lefty revealed that he spent a good part of Sunday and Tuesday polishing his game at the North East Greenhills gym, even though his team was on a break from practice.
“Nag shooting-shooting ako. Kailangan eh,” said Chan, who has yet to hit his stride since the playoffs started.
“Sa Chinese New Year na lang ako babawi ng pahinga," he laughed.
The Smart Gilas gunner's averages have dipped dramatically since the playoffs. He averaged 17.6 points a game during the eliminations, only to see it decline to six points during the best-of-three quarterfinal series against Ginebra.
He is currently averaging 10.8 games a game in the semifinal series against San Mig - not exactly the numbers you'd expect from a player of Chan's caliber.
Still, Chan said the five-day break from games has re-energized his body after a long campaign that saw him suit up for Smart Gilas 2.0 in the Jones Cup in Taipei and Fiba Asia Cup in Tokyo during the league's offseason.
“Halos isang taon rin talaga akong bugbog. Nag Gilas pa ako di ba?” he said. “Pero ibubuhos ko ulit ang lahat next game. Kailangan na naming itiklop ang series sa Huwebes, pag nagka Game Seven pa, delikado na.”
His teammate, Paul Lee, said the Elasto Painters need Chan to start clicking to finally nail the franchise's first Finals appearance in an all-Filipino conference.
“Pang San Mig talaga ang opensa ni Jeff. Mas ganado yun umiskor, kaya kailangan mag-init siya ulit,” said Lee.