MANILA, Philippines – Jamie Malonzo enters uncharted territory as he plays in his first PBA finals, but he is confident knowing he has the entire Barangay Ginebra behind him.
The high-flying forward looks to make his presence felt when the Gin Kings tangle with guest team Bay Area in a best-of-seven series for the Commissioner’s Cup crown starting on Christmas Day at the Mall of Asia Area.
“I think from Day 1, they’ve been prepping me for this moment,” said Malonzo.
“Definitely got the right people around me to build me up, help me get through this experience. So far, so good. I can’t complain.”
Acquired from NorthPort through a blockbuster trade prior to the conference, the sophomore standout has been a major contributor for Ginebra.
Malonzo leads all Gin Kings locals in scoring with 13.6 points on top of 6.8 rebounds, 2.4 assists, 1.8 steals, and 1.1 blocks in 18 games.
Ginebra is expected to bank on the 6-foot-7 Malonzo particularly on the defensive end as he possesses the size and athleticism that will be crucial in containing the Dragons’ top wingmen in Kobey Lam and Hayden Blankley.
“We’ve been taking care of business as a team and they’ve been great getting me up to this point, so I’m excited [to] see how it folds,” he said.
Although the Gin Kings have proven they are capable of winning championships – ruling three of the last five conferences – even before his arrival, Malonzo said he just wants to provide help.
“My teammates have won. They’ve been there before, they’ve done it. I’m just hoping that they can relive that first experience, first time winning experience with me,” said Malonzo.
“I’m helping them win, they’re helping me win, so it’s a team effort. And it’s something to be very excited about.” – Rappler.com