Trump card Jose gets job done as Phoenix captures crown
Consider Raymar Jose as Phoenix’s biggest trump card.
Injected to the Accelerators lineup for the first time this conference, the 6-foot-4 bruiser proved to be the missing piece as he helped the team snare the 2016 PBA D-League Foundation Cup title against Tanduay on Thursday.
“Sobrang big factor sya at kita mo naman yung outcome,” said coach Eric Gonzales.
Placed as a reserve all conference long, Phoenix unearthed Jose for Game 3 to bolster its frontline which was missing Alfred Batino.
“Kahapon lang ako sinabihan,” said the FEU forward. “Nasa dorm ako ng sinabihan ako ni coach na ready lang kasi wala yung isang kasama ko at naka-lineup din naman ako.”
Fortunately, Jose didn’t look like he missed a beat as Gonzales exploited this advantage and injected the hardworking forward to his first five.
“For the last three years, he has been with the team also. Sabi ko kay Ed (Daquioag), di ko muna sya i-start. Start muna ako ng all-FEU para solid yung start. Si Toto yung hinihintay kong looper na ni-request ko sa FEU na paglaruin,” he said.
And Jose did his job admirably, conspiring with his fellow Tamaraws as the Accelerators went on a hot start and led by as much as 20 in the first half. They would eventually hold on to an 87-78 victory over the Rhum Masters.
“Kasama ko na rin naman sila dati. Parang ganun pa rin yung samahan namin,” Jose said, as he finished with nine points and five rebounds in only 17 minutes on the floor.
“Nakatulong lang siguro ako ng konti, pero sobrang saya ko lang kasi nakasali ulit ako sa back-to-back champions.”