AFTER a forgettable debut conference, Chris Newsome is out to make up for lost time as the Meralco rookie is bound for his first ever semifinal stint in the PBA.
Newsome scored 15 points, including seven in the pivotal fourth period, to help the Bolts rally past the NLEX Road Warriors, 104-97, in their quarterfinal playoffs in the Commissioner’s Cup Monday at the Araneta Coliseum.
The come-from-behind win made the Bolts the first team to make the semis of the midseason tournament, a 360 degree turnaround from their campaign during the Philippine Cup where the franchise finished dead-last with only a lone win to show in 11 games.
And making it deep into the playoffs where he had never been before in his young pro career, is definitely a big thrill for the high-leaping guard out of Ateneo.
“I feel pretty good and happy that we finally made it here after our showing last conference,” said Newsome. “I’m actually happy to be at this point in my career. I’m glad it (semis stint) came on my first year (in the league).”
The fourth pick overall of Meralco in last year’s rookie draft, Newsome raised his scoring average from 11.0 points in the all-Filipino conference to 12.1 in the ongoing import-laden tournament.
He admitted the embarrassing performance of the Bolts last conference made them work hard to get ready and be prepared this tournament.
“That’s the motivation that we need. It doesn’t feel good to be at the bottom and only win one game,” he stressed. “Definitely, it doesn’t feel good.”
The San Jose, California born-player expects the semis to be a tough one whether the Bolts get to play the Tropang TNT or Alaska Aces.
The extra rest Meralco will have against its semis opponent is going to benefit the Bolts in a five-game series.
“Given that we won this first game gives us the extra time to sit back and rest our body a little bit and prepare for the next (round),” said the 25-year-old Newsome.
While the semis stint is bound to help him get back in the race for the Rookie of the Year award, Newsome said making the finals and winning a championship in his first season are what matter most to him.
“Most important for me is for us to keep winning. The Rookie of the Year would be nice, but for me my goal is to make the finals and win the championship,” he stressed.