ROME Dela Rosa working on his shot in the offseason paid dividends on Friday in the most important game for Magnolia thus far in the 2021 PBA Philippine Cup.
With Paul Lee firing blanks, Dela Rosa, best known for being one of the best defenders in the league, picked up the cudgels on offense as he fired with 16 points behind a 4-of-5 shooting from threes in Magnolia’s 93-85 Game Six win over Meralco.
“We trained Rome to become a two-way player. That’s what we trained during the offseason. We gave Rome confidence to shoot outside and he delivered,” said Magnolia head coach Chito Victolero.
Statistically, Dela Rosa’s shooting numbers were almost the same (13-of-32 in 2021, 12-of-29 in 2020). This conference though, Dela Rosa has hit four three-pointers in a game twice, the first against Alaska.
Clutch Dela Rosa treys
On Friday, Dela Rosa’s trifectas came in the most crucial situations. Dela Rosa's back-to-back threes gave Magnolia momentum and its first lead of the match, 39-35, after being down 11-0 to start off the contest.
Dela Rosa also connected on a trey in the late stages of the game to give the Hotshots a more comfortable cushion against the rallying Bolts.
There’s no doubt that Dela Rosa’s improved range complementing his lockdown defense will make him a crucial piece in Magnolia's campaign in the finals.
“He can spread the floor," Victolero said. "Kailangan lang namin ma-sustain ito.”
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