RANIDEL de Ocampo proved he remains one of the most dependable players in the PBA and for TNT Katropa as he stepped up with Jayson Castro having an off night in the Texters’ 95-90 win over Globalport that enabled them to advance to the Philippine Cup semifinals.
On a night when Castro had his worst offensive showing of the conference, De Ocampo produced his best as he registered a conference-high 25 points on 7-of-10 shooting, three boards, two assists, and one steal in just 23 minutes off the bench.
The Gilas veteran said he was simply prepared to step up as Castro was held to just nine points, the first time he was limited to single-digit scoring this conference after putting up 20 points on 7-of-12 shooting in 24 minutes in Game One.
“Syempre, ganun naman yung team namin eh, nagtutulungan kami kung mayroon may araw na yung iba ay hindi masyado nakalaro o hindi maganda laro,” De Ocampo said. “Mas maganda nga kung halos lahat kami laging maganda nilalalaro eh.”
“Ganun naman kami, yung mga teammates ko, nagi-step up,” he added. “Hindi mo naman din alam, kahit naman kahit kaninong team, may nagii-step up, mapa-veterans man o baguhan.”
Fellow veteran Kelly Williams also came through with 10 points and eight boards, and scored the left-handed putback stab with 19 seconds left that gave the Texters a three-point lead and took the fight out of the Batang Pier.
De Ocampo insisted stepping up wasn’t a statement or a challenge to match what the young guns, like Troy Rosario and Mo Tautuaa have been producing.
“Hindi naman siya challenge,” the top stretch forward said. “More on gina-guide namin sila, nire-remind namin sila every time na may chance na bigyan namin ng input. Yun yung trabaho naming mga beterano – at nakikinig naman sila.”
Together, they hope to give San Miguel Beer a worthy challenge in the semifinals.
“Maganda ‘tong pinagdaanan naming laro, makakatulong ‘to sa semis,” De Ocampo said. “Alam naman natin na San Miguel ang pinakamahirap talunin na team, so gagawin naman namin yung best namin.”