MANILA, Philippines – Michael Miranda has been a revelation in the PBA.
From riding the Phoenix Fuel Masters bench for two years to being a key cog for the NLEX Road Warriors, Miranda has come a long way.
But if there is anybody that isn't suprised about Miranda's emergence, it would be teammate and PBA great Asi Taulava.
Taulava says Miranda is just reaping the fruits of his labor, sharing that the former San Sebastian Stag has been doing the extra work to excel.
"Mike is lodi (idol). He's awesome," said Taulava.
"[He's doing] extra hours with the PTs (physical therapists), extra hours with coaches. 5 [or] 6 in the morning, he's doing extra running. He gets out in the evening, too. Hard work pays off. And hard work is paying off with his success right now."
Hello Semis! Let’s go Lodi’s! #NLEX A post shared by Asi Taulava (@agelessasi88) on Mar 7, 2018 at 5:47am PST
The Road Warriors may be Kiefer Ravena and Kevin Alas' team now but the 6-foot-6 big man was also crucial in the team's first playoff appearance in franchise history.
Late in Game 2 of their best-of-3 quarterfinals against the 3rd seed Alaska, Miranda scored 5 of the Road Warriors' last 7 points, highlighted with a go-ahead triple, to send the Aces packing for vacation, 87-83.
Fast forward to Game 6 of the semifinals against Magnolia, Miranda tallied team-highs of 20 points and 8 rebounds on top of two steals. Although it came at a conference-ending 89-96 loss, he showed he can become a legitimate offensive threat.
While Miranda has occupied the minutes previously played by Taulava, the former league Most Valuable Player doesn't seem to mind.
"I'm happy with the success of the team. I'm so proud of Mike. Nobody's seeing him behind the scenes but this kid comes in early every morning. Everything he has, he deserves it," said Taulava.
The Commissioner's Cup kicks off on April 22 and Taulava believes Miranda still has more to showcase.
"I expect a better showing from him next conference. He's played big games this conference." – 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.