In a game where Rain or Shine desperately needed some scoring punch, rookie Adrian Wong delivered.
The No. 5 pick churned out a game-high 15 points as Rain or Shine remained undefeated in 3 games in the PBA Philippine Cup following a hard-fought 80-78 victory over NorthPort.
Wong hardly made his presence felt in their first two games where he averaged only 1.5 points, but found the perfect time to play the finest game of his young PBA career and answered the call of head coach Caloy Garcia.
"Adrian stepped up. Actually I shouted at him. He kept on hesitating, he looked scared," Garcia bared in the post-game presser.
"I told him, 'You look scared inside. Just play the way you're supposed to play.' The nice thing is he stepped up after I said that."
Wong scored 8 of his output in the final quarter, including the three-pointer that gave Rain or Shine a 63-52 advantage – a lead that proved enough to withstand a late NorthPort rally.
"My teammates, they really believe in me. We believe in each and every one of us. Anyone in the team can take off," Wong said.
Aside from Wong, Garcia also lauded rookie Clint Doliguez and Sidney Onwubere for providing spark off the bench.
Doliguez hit two three-pointers in the first half that kept Rain or Shine within shouting distance when NorthPort held the lead, while Onwubere finished with 11 points and 5 rebounds.
"We were down early but it was Clint, Adrian, it was a total team effort for us," Garcia said. "I think defensively, we're okay, keeping them at 68 points."
Playing 3 games in 6 days, Rain or Shine will take a well-deserved break before it shoots for its fourth straight win against Alaska on Thursday, October 22. – Rappler.com
Delfin Dioquino dreamt of being a PBA player, but he did not have the skills to make it. So he pursued the next best thing to being an athlete – to write about them. He took up journalism at the University of Santo Tomas and joined Rappler as soon as he graduated in 2017.