WITH four championships and nine PBA Finals appearances under his belt, it’s not surprising why PJ Simon is having a resurgence that has been one of the reasons why San Mig Coffee is back in its Philippine Cup title series against Rain or Shine.
The Mixers veteran guard shone in Game Two Sunday night, tallying a team-high 15 points on 7-of-10 shooting along with three rebounds in the 80-70 victory.
But the 34-year-old pride of Makilala, North Cotabato, who also left his imprint on the semifinal series against Barangay Ginebra, especially on the Mixers’ 110-87 win in the deciding Game Seven when he exploded for 28 big points, is deflecting credit to his underappreciated young teammates.
“Hindi lang naman ako. Maganda naman lahat na pinapakita ng team,” he said in a short conversation with Spin.ph after the team’s Monday practice at the Ronac Gym in San Juan.
“Kami lang ang napapansin kasi minsan gumaganda yung game namin. Pero kung tutuusin, hindi napapansin yung rookies namin na ang laki ng tulong.”
Rookie big man Ian Sangalang, for one, is making the most of his Finals debut as he registered 10 points along with six boards in the Game Two win.
The 2013 second overall pick was one of five Mixers in double-figure in scoring, a statistic which Simon points to as the reason why they have reached this far after starting the conference with a 1-5 win-loss card.
“Balanced yung scoring namin. Yun ang sekreto. Yun ang weapon namin kung bakit kami nandito.”
Admitting a long series favors the Elasto Painters, Simon hopes their rookies and the rest of the bench continue to step up for the weary Mixers.
“Long series talaga kaya napaka-crucial ng second unit namin. Kung patuloy na ganito ang laro ng second unit namin, maganda match-up namin sa (ROS).”
Simon, who played just 22 minutes in Game Two, said coach Tim Cone has also done a great job managing their minutes.
“At nakakawala lang ng pagod dahil nandito ka sa Finals. Yun yung magbibigay ng energy sayo dahil minsan lang makarating dito.”