MANILA, Philippines – Javee Mocon may be a rookie in the PBA, but he hasn’t let that label stop him from banging with the big boys.
And that confidence was on full display Friday night, April 12, when the 2018 6th overall pick led Rain or Shine’s 84-77 Game 1 semifinals win over Magnolia with 15 points and 10 rebounds. (READ: Rain or Shine pounces on error-prone Magnolia in semis opener)
League veteran “Big Game” James Yap couldn’t help but pass him by in the post-game interview and jokingly shout “Angas yan!” (He’s arrogant!)
But the four-time NCAA champion with San Beda meekly downplayed his own big game.
“Para sa akin okay lang kasi at the 4th quarter ang dami kong turnovers so ang dami ko pang lapses,” he said. “Marami pa ako dapat matutunan.”
(For me, it’s just okay because in the 4th quarter I had a lot of turnovers so I still have a lot of lapses. I still have a lot to learn.)
However, it was head coach Caloy Garcia’s own observation that the 24-year-old forward was not like any other rookie, which Mocon took as high praise.
“All thanks to him too because he gave me that confidence in the eliminations, he’s letting me play,” he said. “That’s where I built my confidence with the help of the veterans.”
Mocon said he’s also unfazed with the level of physicality in his first PBA playoffs, as he already had a lot of experience in the collegiate ranks.
“Batang NCAA eh. Ganun sa NCAA, physical talaga,” he said. “Sa Beda, I think dun ako nag-grow maging ready sa playoffs sa PBA. Wala naman yun, physicality is all part of the game.”
(I’m an NCAA kid and it’s really physical there. In Beda, that’s where I think I grew to be ready in the PBA playoffs. That’s nothing, physicality is all part of the game.)
With a lot more basketball to play in the best-of-seven series against the Hotshots, Mocon is hell-bent on trying to prove his worth as a young gun under Garcia.
“It takes a lot of responsibility for me too because I have to step up to his word,” he said. “For me I take it as a compliment and motivation to be worth his word.” – Rappler.com