MANILA, Philippines — Veteran forward Jay Washington picked the best time to come out of his slump.
With GlobalPort fighting for survival, Washington towed Batang Pier to its first-ever playoffs appearance in the Mikee Romero-owned franchise’s young history.
“Jay-Wash has been struggling in our past few games and the way he rose to the challenge is a clear sign of how good of a player he is,” said GlobalPort head coach Junel Baculi of his off-season acquisition.
The 31-year-old Washington has been groping for form in his first eight games donning GlobalPort’s colors.
And in his last two games prior to his 30-point, 14-rebound night in a 113-106 win over Barangay Ginebra San Miguel in overtime last Friday, Washington had been off-the-mark with a woeful seven-of-21 shooting from the field.
“He didn’t let his recent funk get him down,” added Baculi. “Instead, he took the challenge by the horn and came out a winner.”
The former Petron Blaze slotman Washington, who was named the Accel-PBA Press Corps Player of the Week, also shone at the defensive end with five blocks apart from his offensive outburst that had him making six out of his 10 attempts from beyond-the-arc and 10-of-20 from the floor overall, which included a dagger of a jumper that made it, 109-106, with only 50 seconds left in the extra session.
Explosive import Markeith Cummings and fiery guard Sol Mercado also played a vital role for the Batang Pier’s breakthrough conference after finishing at the bottom of the standings in their first two conferences in the league.
But it was Washington’s time Friday night, in a game where GlobalPort, which locked up the fifth seed and arranged a quarterfinals duel with defending champion Rain or Shine, needed someone to deliver.