PBA: Mariano comes up big for undermanned Gin Kings
Mark Escarlote on Sep 23, 2018 11:02 PM
Iím making the most of it, yung opportunity na ibinibigay sa akin ni coach na paglaruin ako, na padepensahan sa akin ang import. Ibinibigay niya sa akin ang job na yun. Yun lang ibinabalik ko lang ang tiwala na ibinibigay niya sa akin -- Aljon Mariano
Barangay Ginebra needed all the help it could get from its available players, having most of its stars sidelined with injuries.
Aljon Mariano heeded the call and came up big at crunch time to tow the Ging Kings back in the win column of the 2018 PBA Governors’ Cup.
Mariano sparked the Ginebra’s breakout from a tight ballgame in the closing half of the payoff period, Sunday, as the Gin Kings hurdled San Miguel Beer, 110-102, at the Big Dome for a 4-1 win-loss record.
The 2015 second round pick tied his career-high 20 points with eight coming in the crucial run of Ginebra that turned a one-point lead to 99-88 with 2:54 left.
“We see him do that in practice everyday and I’m glad the fans get to see it. He played really well,” said Ginebra coach Tim Cone of Mariano.
It was a perfect shooting night for the University of Sto. Tomas product as Mariano shot 7-for-7 from the field. He grabbed seven rebounds with two assists, two steals and a block.
“Sa laro ko naman ang trabaho ko lang talaga pinapabantay sa akin ‘yung import, try to contain or stop the import. Yung mga points na dumarating extra na lang yun,” said Mariano.
The Gin Kings pulled away from a tight ballgame with Mariano sparking 14-4 run where he scored six points capped by a finger roll that gave Ginebra an 11-point advantage.
“Nakukuha ko rin ang rhythm ko off the ball, di naman ako nagki-create on the ball,” said Mariano. “So more on movement naman off the ball so ‘di ko pinipilit ang mga tira ko.”
“Nata-timing na hinahanap din ako ng mga teammates ko kaya nakakakuha ako ng easy shots,” he added.
With key players Sol Mercado, Japeth Aguilar, Jervy Cruz and Greg Slaughter out, Cone is giving his bench including Mariano more minutes on the court.
Mariano’s good performance, including a 16-point performance in the Gin Kings’ overtime loss to unbeaten Blackwater on Friday, he said is a way of repaying Cone’s trust in him.
“I’m making the most of it, yung opportunity na ibinibigay sa akin ni coach na paglaruin ako, na padepensahan sa akin ang import,” said Mariano. “Ibinibigay niya sa akin ang job na yun. Yun lang ibinabalik ko lang ang tiwala na ibinibigay niya sa akin.”
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