MANILA, Philippines—Jeff Chan, one of the PBA’s deadliest shooters today, needed time to get used to having a bull’s-eye on his back every game.
After a career-defining performance in the finals last conference, Rain or Shine’s trusty marksman is now a marked man in the league.
And Chan admits it hasn’t been easy.
“Sobrang hirap. Naninibago nga ako, eh,” Chan told INQUIRER.net shortly after the Elastopainters’ 101-93 win over Alaska.
Two defenders come swarming at Chan every time he receives the ball, and a hand in his face is what he usually sees when he throws up a shot.
“Bugbog ka, mabilis ka pa mapagod, kaya kailangan ng extra work,” shared Chan, who was awarded the finals MVP in Rain or Shine’s first franchise title.
Chan finished with 22 points, 3-of-4 three-point shooting, Wednesday—after scoring just 11 points combined in the two games previous to that.
Head coach Yeng Guiao said Chan’s diminished contribution wasn’t a major concern because Rain or Shine was winning, and now at solo second with 6-2.
But Guiao had to make sure his top offensive option, like any other shooters, stays sharp and gets his stride going by giving him the touches he needs.
“I don’t put any pressure on Jeff. The only thing I ask the team is get him his touches,” said Guiao. “Kasi bawat hawak, dini-deny s’ya. Parang hindi na s’ya tinutulungan makatanggap.”
And having a player who changes the complexion of the game without even scoring like Chan, Guiao plans to use that to his squad’s advantage.
“It’s not important if he makes the basket or not. He will draw attention, he can be a decoy. He knows how to pass and when to pass,” said Guiao of Chan.
But against the Aces, Chan was more than just a decoy—he swung the lead into the Elastopainters’ favor for good after scoring 10 straight points early in the fourth.
“Last two games, dino-double team ako, at pilit ang mga shots ko. Kaya ngayon, naging patient ako,” said Chan.
But for Chan, topping the stat sheet is not his goal each game—it’s to see his squad on top at the end of the game.
“Kanina, pag hawak ko ng bola, naghahanap ako ng open guys. Pag team ko contributing, it makes my job easier,” said Cham.
“Okay lang naman sa’kin na di maka-score as much, basta panalo kami. Pero kung kailangan nila scoring ko, tutulong ako.”