MANILA, Philippines – At a crucial stage in the PBA Philippine Cup, Meralco is getting a timely boost from Raymar Jose.
The Bolts big man delivered 13 points and 4 rebounds as Meralco scored a 99-88 win over San Miguel to even their best-of-seven semifinals clash at 1-1 on Friday, August 5.
Fielded in mainly for defensive purposes against Beermen star June Mar Fajardo, Jose has been a key offensive contributor, averaging 12.5 points through two semifinal games.
“We’re always ready, especially us bigs since our job is to stop and limit June Mar,” said Jose, who notched a conference-high in points on the eve of his 30th birthday.
“The offense is probably just a bonus for us. We’re focused on defense.”
Pitted against the six-time league MVP in Fajardo, Jose fouled out in just under 20 minutes of play.
But the former FEU standout already did enough damage for Meralco before his exit, scattering 10 points in the fourth quarter as they held off a San Miguel comeback.
Jose even sank a triple to start the fourth quarter and completed a three-point play that gave the Bolts an 88-79 lead before he committed his sixth and final foul with three minutes left.
“Toto (Jose) has been really big for us. I invested playing him beginning of the conference and it is really paying off right now because he has a lot of confidence,” said Meralco coach Norman Black.
Jose barely saw action in the Governors’ Cup last season, appearing in just five of the Bolts’ 23 games and averaging under three minutes.
But the third pick in the 2017 PBA Draft has seen a drastic increase in playing time as he norms 4.9 points and 4.9 rebounds in nearly 14 minutes of play.
“He is an energizer bunny. He is out there all the time moving and he is very active on the floor, does not back down to anybody,” said Black.
“He helps us a great deal defensively but today he gave us a lift on the offensive end.” – Rappler.com