HEEDING the advice of coach Koy Banal, guard RR Garcia patiently waited for his time to shine.
And as if on cue, the former UAAP MVP stepped up and became the fourth straight Barako Bull player to be named Player of the Week in the Governors’ Cup.
Facing Rain or Shine’s veteran guards led by Paul Lee and Chris Tiu, Garcia managed to stand his ground, while ably facilitating Barako Bull’s offense.
The 5-foot-11 guard out of Far Eastern University fired a PBA career-best 26 points, scoring inside against Rain or Shine’s rugged frontline, while displaying his outside shooting as well to help Barako Bull register a 112-103 upset on Sunday.
The victory powered the Energy to a franchise-best 5-1 start in the season-ending conference and the top spot in the 12-team standings.
Garcia said Banal constantly reminds him to prioritize team over personal individual accolades.
“Abang abang lang. Sabi naman kasi ni coach, darating din yung time na ako yung puputok sa game so nag-tiyaga lang ako,” Garcia told Spin.ph on Monday.
“Gusto ni coach, isipin ko kung paano ko sila (Energy) ma-set up or mali-libre. Sinasabi sa akin ni coach na kailangan ko dalhin yung apat na teammates ko sa loob ng court,” he added.
The 25-year-old sophomore guard also credits veteran guards like Chico Lanete, Paolo Hubalde and even new boy Joseph Yeo for giving him pointers during practices and games.
“Sila Chico saka Paolo mga beterano na, saka si Joseph, sila nagga-guide sa akin sa mga dapat gawin na tama saka ano yung mga mali na kailangang iwasan,” said the former UAAP MVP.
Banal hopes Garcia will continue to play consistently, now that the Energy are making heads turn with their strong start in the Governors Cup.
“I’d like to say he’s ready to go all-out every game. Even before Liam (McMorrow) came in, given na 'yan, day in and day out, he’ll be ready to go hard even sa practice,” Banal said of his prized playmaker out of Far Eastern University.
Garcia is the fourth straight Barako Bull player to win the Accel PBA Press Corps Player of the Week citation after JC Intal, Dylan Ababou and Yeo.
Rain or Shine’s Jervy Cruz, Paul Lee, Ryan Arana and Jeff Chan were the last players from the same team to be named the PBA Press Corps Players of the Week in a four-week span.