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    After stepping out of Terrence Romeo shadow, RR Garcia dreams of playing for Gilas

    Jul 1, 2015

    BARAKO Bull guard RR Garcia finally had his break-out season in the PBA after being given the time to shine at Barako Bull.

    Now he hopes the stirring performance will earn him a second look and a possible consideration as part of the Gilas Pilipinas pool.

    The former UAAP MVP emerged as the most consistent scorer for the Energy after averaging 12.08 points, 2.75 rebounds, and 2.25 assists per game, a big jump from his numbers of 6.41 points, 1.69 rebounds, and 1.62 assists during his rookie season with GlobalPort last year.

    Garcia said he owes everything to the confidence given him by Barako Bull coach Koy Banal.

    “Ngayon kasi kaya madalas medyo mataas ang score ko, binibigyan kasi ako ng kumpiyansa (lisensya) ng coach ko na tumira ng tumira,” he said.

    “Syempre, gusto ko rin ang role ko ngayon. May kumpiyansa ako na tumira. Syempre, 'pag nakuha ko ang rhythm ko tuloy-tuloy na 'yun,” he added.

    And with the new-found confidence comes the desire to become part of the national team under coach Tab Baldwin that will see action in the coming Fiba Asia Men’s Championship this September.

    “Sana nga napapansin nila ako. Kasi gustong- gusto ko lumaro sa national team. Dati akong cadet eh. Pero gusto ko rin siyempreng maranasan ang lumaro sa Gilas mismo,” Garcia candidly said.

    “Para sa bansa natin 'yun eh. Iba ang cadet sa Gilas mismo eh. Mas mataas na level 'yun eh. Pag nakalaro ako sa national team mismo, parang naka-ukit na rin ako ng pangalan sa Philippine basketball talaga nun,” he added.

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    His career rejuvenated at Barako, Garcia also touched on the issue of finally stepping out of the shadows of longtime backcourt partner Terrence Romeo, his prolific teammate at FEU and briefly, with Globalport.

    “Dati kasi sanay ako na aasa sa opensa 'pag andun si Terrence. Ganun naman ako eh. Pag may ka-teammate ako na pumutok, dun ako mag fe-feed ng magfe-feed,” said Garcia.

    “Noong araw kasi sinasabi nila na mas madalas, taga-hand off ako kay Terrence. Kasi mainit naman lagi sa opensa si Terrence nun,” he said. “Wala sa akin 'yun. Sa akin pag may pumutok, kailangan tuloy-tuloy (siya).”

    Garcia also revealed he usually played decoy for Romeo, also a former UAAP MVP, during their together with the Tamaraws.

    “Decoy lang ako nung araw eh. Kaya madalas, nagki-create lang ako nun (ng play sa mga teammates ko at kay Terrence),” he said.

     “Umi-iskor din naman tayo nung araw. Pero ako kasi nun pagdala ko ang bola, kung sino ang mainit sa team namin, dun ako magpapasa ng magpapasa,” stressed the pride of Zamboanga.

    But that doesn’t mean he’s not licensed to shoot at FEU.

    “Ginagawa ko naman dati 'yun (tumira ng tumira) sa FEU. Nagkakataon lang talaga na kailangang may ibang umiskor. Mas komportable kasi ako na i-involve ang mga teammates ko,” added the 25-year-old combo guard.

    Barako Bull hotshot guard Carlo Lastimosa said playing alongside the talented Garcia is a dream come true for him.

    “Dati madalas ko kalaban yan sa D-League at sa Filoil. Isa siya sa hirap kong bantayan. Madaming galaw, saka di mo alam kung papasa o titira,” said Lastimosa, who missed Barako’s last four games in the PBA Governors Cup due to a torn hip muscle injury.

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    “Saka malakas ang katawan nun, pwede sa Gilas 'yun. Kasi kaya niya pumoste, mahusay pumuwesto sa rebound at may shooting, yun ang importante,” added the nephew of cage great Jojo Lastimosa.

    Veteran forward Ronnie Matias was also impressed by Garcia, who he believes can go places in the pro league.

    “Malayo mararating ng bata na 'yan. Pag gustong gumawa, gagawa talaga. Pero pag nag-focus sa ball handling, mahusay mag-distribute ng bola,” said Matias.

    “Masarap kakampi si RR, kasi hindi siya bwakaw na guwardya. Pag kaya niya, didiskarte siya. Magaling siya dumiskarte, pero pag alam niyang maiipit siya (ng depensa), hahanap siya ng open man,” he added.

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