Most PBA fans know by now that the Meralco Bolts, from the regular season all the way to their epic clashes in the playoffs, do not rely on one particular player, especially in the Philippine Cup, to carry them to victory.
That famed balanced attacking system under head coach Norman Black just got another jolt for the 2021 All-Filipino conference after Meralco selected UE super scorer Alvin Pasaol ninth overall in the loaded Season 46 draft, and right now, the selection is paying huge dividends.
In their 79-66 shutdown of the worn-out defending champion Barangay Ginebra, the 6-foot-3 bruiser once again energized the Bolts’ bench with 15 points and 7 rebounds in just 16 minutes, good enough for his coach to make a special note on his outing.
“I said it when we drafted him, the guy can score. He can flat-out score. He can score against just about anybody. He has a built-in confidence that all players don’t have,” Black said after the win.
With veterans Chris Newsome, Cliff Hodge, and Reynel Hugnatan moving in and out of the rotation due to various issues and Aaron Black also recuperating from an injury, Pasaol may have just gotten the extended time he needed moving forward in the playoffs with his recent play.
“He’s just a very confident kid. He has not really been playing that many minutes, so I think you know the future for Alvin is quite, quite bright. And his performance with the team, I’m sure, will get better as he gets more minutes and more playing time,” Black said.
In fact, Pasaol’s short-timed outburst against Ginebra on Thursday, September 23, was merely a continuation of his scoring streak the day prior, when Meralco escaped NLEX, 104-101, to clinch the franchise’s first twice-to-beat advantage in Philippine Cup history.
As fellow rook Calvin Oftana went unconscious from long range en route to a historic eight-triple, 34-point explosion for NLEX, Pasaol quietly recorded a career-high 17 markers in just 20 minutes of action to help seal the all-important win.
Fans who have been following Pasaol since his college and 3×3 days know that this is nothing new, however, as he once set a collegiate career-high 49 points back with UE while playing against MVP-caliber reinforcement Ben Mbala and then-defending champion La Salle.
He finished his UAAP senior season with Mythical Team honors after norming 24.7 points per game, the highest average by a local player since current San Miguel star Terrence Romeo averaged 22.2 back when he was with FEU.
Now in the PBA, it is only a matter of gaining more court time and better conditioning for Pasaol. As Black said, it was never about gaining more confidence, as fans know he had that in spades by day one. – Rappler.com