IT'S no surprise that Barangay Ginebra management has started to brand Josh Urbiztondo as the team’s lucky charm, considering the Kings are 3-0 since he was acquired from Barako Bull more than a week ago.
“Boss (Robert Non, Ginebra’s board governor) is telling me and joking around that I’m the lucky charm,” said a smiling Urbiztondo after the Kings' Game One with on Friday night. “But really, it is God’s blessing."
"I’m just happy when there’s an opportunity where I could help the team. But we want to stay humble and stay grounded because we want to make it to the Finals,” he added.
But Urbiztondo is more than just a lucky charm to the league's most popular ballclub.
While he may not be putting up big numbers in a team loaded with offensive weapons, Urbiztondo’s value comes from the energy, hustle, and playmaking which helped the Gin Kings win their first three games in the playoffs.
On Friday, the Fil-Am guard buried four three-pointers to finish with 12 points, his best offensive night in a Barangay Ginebra uniform, to help the team open its semifinal series against Talk ‘N Text with a 104-81 victory before more than 14,000 cheering fans at the Big Dome.
“We showed a lot of heart out there. Our offense is gonna come with all the scorers we have but it takes a lot of character and heart to win,” he said.
Still, the Ginebra guard's tag as a lucky charm is not without basis.
Back when B-Meg (now San Mig Coffee) acquired him from Air21 during the 2011 season, the Fresno Pacific University alumnus became part of the Llamados team that made two straight Finals appearances last season and won the Commissioner’s Cup championship.