Thanks to coach Jimmy, pint-sized Pao Javelona playing big again

Norman Lee Benjamin Riego on Apr 16, 2018 03:24 PM
Thanks to coach Jimmy, pint-sized Javelona playing big again
Pao Javelona has emerged as a key piece in Alab Pilipinas' enviable deep rotation

STA. ROSA, LAGUNA – Apparently, Pao Javelona’s 18-point breakout in Alab Pilipinas’ last game in the elimination round of the 2017-2018 Asean Basketball League was just a sign of things to come.

It was a no-bearing game for the Filipino team which was already assured of a playoff berth.

But for a one-time end of bench player who was, all of a sudden, thrust into the starting role, the strong showing, and the win, meant a lot.

Since then, the pint-sized point guard had emerged as a steady starter for the Filipinos with the injury to Josh Urbiztondo, averaging 9.6 points, 5.8 rebounds, and three assists.

Along the way, he helped slow down the likes of Saigon’s Akeem Scott and Hong Kong’s Tyler Lamb.

Now, he has transformed from a third-stringer in the depth chart to a key contributor as the Philippines tries to reclaim the ABL title. “My hard work paid off,” he told reporters last Sunday, after he was part of a total team effort that shot the crown off of the heads of now-dethroned Eastern.

For Javelona, whose last important minutes in a basketball game was back when he was still reppin’ National University in 2016, the full faith of head coach Jimmy Alapag pushed him to keep believing in himself. “Yung tiwala ni coach Jimmy sa akin, grabe. He always talks to me and sinasabi niya sa akin, ‘Just stay there, Pao, your time will come. Magtiwala ka lang sa sarili mo,’” he shared.

He then continued, “Yung tiwala ni coach Jimmy and my teammates, they really believe in me kaya pagpasok ko sa court, nakakatulong talaga mag-boost ng confidence.”

And so, even as Urbiztondo continues to be on the mend, Alab remains in good hands with a 25-year-old player who has rediscovered his ideal role as a 3-and-D player. “Every game. I just wanna play my heart out. Gusto ko lang talaga gawin yung trabaho ko as a defensive player and then the offense will come,” he shared.

He then continued, “Basta every game, I just wanna leave it all on the floor and just give all I have.”

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Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo.

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