THE reigning PBA Philippine Cup champion Purefoods Star has slowly made its steady climb back to respectability after limping to a 1-3 record early in the season.
And a big part of the Hotshots’ resurgence has to do with the consistency being shown by veteran guard Peter June Simon.
The six-foot guard out of Makilala, North Cotabato may not necessarily have the star status his teammates James Yap and Marc Pingris enjoy, but Simon has proven time and time again that he works best when no one takes notice of him.
For while the defense of opposing teams have often concentrated on Yap or Pingris, the unassuming Purefoods shooting guard, noted for his quick pull-up jumper, is ready to wreak havoc every time he gets the ball.
Proof of that is Simon’s game-changing performance against Blackwater last Tuesday, which saw him knock down 10 of his 18 points in a vicious third-quarter scoring spree to lead Purefoods Star to a 90-82 win.
Simon remained on target five days later, delivering 18 points again, against the tough Meralco side, while getting the help he needed from PBA journeyman center Yousef Taha in the fourth period to tow the Hotshots to a thrilling 77-74 win on Saturday in Binan, Laguna.
“’Yun ang magandang nangyari ngayon, bumalik na kami sa dating kami na ipapakita pa rin naming hungry kami at dedepensa kami,” said Simon, whose clutch plays earned him the Accel-PBA Player of the Week for the period of Nov. 17-23 to beat San Miguel Beer slotman June Mar Fajardo.
Simon is hopeful that Purefoods Star’s re-emergence after a poor start will continue as the Hotshots try to get better positioning in the playoffs.
“Hindi nman puwede na i-magic lang uli gaya nung last (season’s first conference or Philippine Cup) kasi single round lang yung last conf, eh target namin kahit nasa gitna lang kami (come playoff time),” he added.
Purefoods Star has won its last three games and will try to sustain its winning run come Wednesday when it faces the Manny Pacquiao-mentored KIA Motors.