RR Garcia may have delivered the offense when it mattered for Star, but his effort on the other end deserved the same attention.
The new Star playmaker hit the biggest baskets down the stretch in regulation and in overtime in a shootout against Terrence Romeo in the Hotshots’ 105-102 victory in the PBA Governors Cup.
But what makes it more remarkable was Garcia also had to clamp down defensively on his prolific fellow Far Eastern University alumni.
“When we needed a basket, he was there, but things that don’t show up is defensively,” Hotshots import Marqus Blakely said of Garcia. “He was guarding Terrence Romeo and (Stanley) Pringle, which to play on both ends is huge. And that’s what we need from a point guard.”
Romeo may have scored a game-high-tying 27 points, but took 23 attempts to reach his total and contributed just four points in the fourth and extra sessions.
“Siguro na-challenge lang ako kasi Terrence Romeo, talagang scorer yan,” Garcia said. “Kahit ma-stop mo siya, titira pa rin ng titira yan. Hindi titigil yun. Nag-sacrifice talaga ako (sa depensa).”
“Kahit nung sa Phoenix pa lang ako, ako na yung bumabantay sa kanya kasi alam ko rin naman yung laro niya, alam niya rin yung laro ko,” added the junior playmaker, acquired in a trade with the Fuel Masters in the offseason.
“Sa labas ng court siyempre magkaibigan kami. Nagkausap nga kami kanina, pero pag dating sa court siguro talagang siyempre laro muna,” he continued. “Iba muna yung magkaibigan kami.”
And Romeo was hardly surprised of his former college teammate’s showing on both ends.
“Alam ko naman na capable si RR gawin lahat ng ginawa n'ya kanina,” the Batang Pier star said. “Lagi naman pag magkalaban kami, laging shootout eh.”
“Basta para sa akin, as long as maganda 'yung pinapakita namin, at saka ginagawa namin 'yung best namin, on the court, walang problema 'yun,” he added. “Off the court, magkaibigan kami.”