MANILA, Philippines – Rain or Shine suffered a big blow in its semifinals bid against Magnolia after starting guard Maverick Ahanmisi went down with an ankle injury in Game 1.
However, it turned out that the Elasto Painters didn't even need his services so soon after walloping the Hotshots in Game 2, 93-80, to take a commanding 2-0 series lead in the 2019 PBA Philippine Cup.
That's all thanks to Ed Daquioag, who filled in Ahanmisi's starting spot and led the way with 19 points and 3 assists on 3-of-5 shooting from downtown.
Despite the big game, however, the former UST star guard was quick to deflect the spotlight away from himself.
"Siguro nagkakataon lang. Kasi binabantayan din nila si James (Yap) eh, tinatrap nila si James," he said. "So ni-review namin, may mga nalilibre talaga sa 'min eh."
(It just happened that way. They were trapping James, so we reviewed and saw that there were some of us who really get freed up.)
"Kailangan mag-step up, alam namin na wala [si Ahanmisi]," he continued. "Credit din sa ibang guards namin like sina Kris Rosales at Rey Nambatac."
(We needed to step up because Ahanmisi was out. Credit also to our other guards like Kris Rosales and Rey Nambatac.)
Nambatac and Rosales chipped in 12 and 6 points, respectively.
But the bigger confidence boost came in the form of burly forward Norbert Torres, who fired 13 of his 16 markers in the 1st quarter alone and finished with a perfect 4-of-4 from downtown.
This unpredictability and bench depth, Daquioag said, would be crucial moving forward for Rain or Shine.
"Siyempre malaking bagay sa 'min 'yun, malalim nga kami," he said. "Hindi alam ng kalaban kung sino mag-step up every game."
(It's a big thing for us that we have depth. Our opponents don't know who'll step up every game.)
With Game 3 on Tuesday, April 16, ahead of the Holy Week break, Daquioag is just hoping that Rain or Shine would move one more game closer to the finals.
"Malaking bagay kasi mag-Game 3 tapos may break pa. Hopefully sa Tuesday makuha namin para maganda-ganda 'yung Holy Week namin," he said.
(It's a big thing that there's Game 3 and a break. Hopefully on Tuesday we get the win so we'd have a nicer Holy Week.) – Rappler.com