SOPHOMORE center Kelly Nabong said GlobalPort took on a “win-or-go-home” mindset and bonded together upon learning that superstar forward Jay Washington is out for the rest of the PBA Philippine Cup with a partially torn plantar fasciitis in his right foot.
No one, however, took the rallying cry to heart more than the hulking Fil-American Nabong, who filled the void left by the injured Washington and made the biggest plays in a 91-88 overtime win over Alaska that guaranteed the Batang Pier a playoff shot at a quarterfinal berth.
The wide-bodied Nabong said he was ready to step up in what was the biggest break of his young PBA career.
“Our mindset was it's a win-or-go home situation for us because we don’t want to depend on beating Ginebra (in our next game) next Friday,” said Nabong after logging 13 points and 10 rebounds for his second straight double-double performance after his 15-point, 11-rebound stint against Petron.
Selected 17th overall by Meralco during the rookie draft last season, Nabong said Washington's shoes were too big to fill. But the Batang Pier made up for the void by gang-rebounding and defending as a team.
Nabong said he was simply happy to pitch in.
“I’m doing everything I can for my team. If they want me to rebound, I’ll go for the rebound 120 percent. If they want me to take the shot, I’ll take the shot. I’ll dive for the ball and do everything I can to help the team win,” he added.
“Our win boosts my confidence, not only me playing well but also the team playing well. Playing lockdown defense and rebounding the ball. That’s a very good team effort, especially for Jondan (Salvador) playing defense on Sonny Thoss,” noted the Sta. Rosa College standout.
The Batang Pier play the Barangay Ginebra Kings on Friday to wind up their two-round schedule.