TASKED to shadow red-hot Kiefer Ravena at crunch time, Rome dela Rosa showed he's more than just about defense.
The 6-foot-3 forward drained some crucial baskets to pour cold water on a late NLEX rally as the Hotshots came away with a 105-94 win in the PBA Philippine Cup on Sunday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Dela Rosa scored seven points in the final eight minutes of the payoff period, just after the Hotshots saw what once stood as a 23-point lead cut to just nine, 94-85.
Dela Rosa then completed a three-point play after posting up Ravena and added a jumper a few plays as the Hotshots put the win away, 99-85.
“Coach put me in there to play defense in the second half kasi Kiefer was getting hot. It’s just all about effort. They trusted me to do my job and I’m glad everything went well,” said Dela Rosa.
“The points came. Defense first and offense will come eventually,” he added. “My teammates trusted me to do that and I’m just glad my shots were falling.”
Ravena still wound up with a career-high 31 points, but dela Rosa made him work hard for his points and play some defense.
The former San Beda star finished with 14 points in the best offensive outing of his four-year PBA career, according to PBA chief statistician Fidel Mangonon III.
The 27-year old said he wasn’t really looking for his shots down the stretch, but was more than willing to step up given the opportunity to contribute offensively.
Reduced into being a role player all throughout his career, Dela Rosa is hopeful that this is the year where he gets to showcase what he can do on offense given the extended minutes from coach Chito Victolero.
But that doesn’t mean he’ll stop working on his defense.
“I sure hope so. Hopefully I can continue and sustain it. I’m just gonna go out there and it’s all gonna start with effort and for me, defense naman first.”