MANILA, Philippines – As long as other Meralco players get their offense going, Chris Newsome does not worry about his low-scoring games.
Newsome said he already expected being the target of opposing teams’ defense as he got limited to just 8 points in their semifinals-tying 111-97 win over San Miguel in the PBA Philippine Cup on Wednesday, August 10.
The rest of the Bolts, though, hit their stride offensively, with Aaron Black leading five players in double figures in the romp that leveled the best-of-seven at 2-2.
“When you look at it statistically, it was not my best night. But at the end of the day, it is about getting the win and we were able to get the win today,” said Newsome, who added 6 assists and 4 rebounds.
“I’m not that type of player that is looking for the score, a bunch of points or whatever. All I’m looking for is wins. Whether that is assists, rebounds, playing defense, whatever we have to do to get the win.”
Newsome entered the semifinals with averages of 16.6 points on top of 6.4 rebounds and 5.6 assists – all-around numbers that landed him at eighth place in the statistical race for the Best Player of the Conference plum.
His scoring, however, has taken a hit in their final four clash against the Beermen.
Through four games, the Filipino-American guard averaged 11.8 points as he ceded his status as the Bolts’ leading scorer, at least in the semifinals.
But if there is a silver lining to his drop in scoring, Newsome knows the attention he attracts paves the way for his teammates to get open.
“This is not the first time that teams have keyed in on me. We played Ginebra in how many series and their defense was guaranteed to take me out and try to make it as difficult as possible for me,” he said.
“It is a responsibility that I’m very familiar with, a situation I’m very familiar with. At the same time, that is what leads me to give confidence to my teammates.”
“Because if I know that a double-team is coming for me, I know someone is going to be open and they will have the confidence that they’re going to be able to hit those shots, if they’re open.”
Still, Meralco coach Norman Black wants Newsome to rediscover his old scoring ways, especially as the series goes into its homestretch.
“[W]e have to study that and find out how they were able to slow him down and try to get him better shots at the basket,” Black said.
Game 5 is scheduled on Friday, August 12, at the Araneta Coliseum. – Rappler.com