NORBERT Torres embraced the spotlight in the absence of Troy Rosario and Moala Tautuaa, leading Team G - Rain or Shine to the mini-tournament title in the PBA Draft Combine on Thursday at the Hoops Center.
Arguably the best big man in the draft outside the consensus top two picks, Torres stood out as he registered five points, four boards, one assist, and one steal as his squad rolled past Team C - Kia, 13-6, in the final.
“I just played even harder, I guess, because of the expectations that they have,” the 6-foot-6 cager said. “It makes me push myself more when it comes to big opportunities like this when you don’t have Mo and Troy here.”
The former La Salle stalwart joined Letran's Kevin Racal, Glenn Khobuntin of National University, Michael Mabulac, and Kermaix's Mike di Gregorio in the mythical team.
Not even jetlag could stop the Filipino-Canadian slotman, who arrived from Toronto, where he worked on his strength and explosiveness in preparation for the physicality in the pros, only a day before the start of the two-day Combine.
“Hopefully the coaches got to see a side of me that maybe they didn’t know or hear about,” Torres said.
He certainly did enough to impress new Ginebra coach Tim Cone, who scouted prospects on Thursday.
“He’s a man among boys, at least here in the Combine,” said the league’s most successful coach, whose team owns the No. 5 pick.
Torres was, of course, overwhelmed of the compliment.
“You have other guys who are just big and strong, some pretty big bruisers, but for coach Tim to say that is a huge honor…and it helps a lot for me.”
Torres teamed up with Josh Cubillo, Alex Almario, Jaypee Mendoza, Eric Acuna, Carlo Gatmaitan, and Christian Palma in Team G, which beat Team A - MVP in the eliminations, 20-17, then squeaked past Team B - Alaska, 16-15, in the semifinals of the tourney that capped off the rookie camp.