PBA: With confidence growing, Raymar Jose makes his mark for Meralco
MANILA, Philippines–Having fought his way to Meralco’s main rotation lately, Raymar Jose came through for the Bolts on the eve of his 30th birthday, helping the club to a 99-88 victory against powerhouse San Miguel Beer on Friday night that squared their 2022 PBA Philippine Cup semifinal series at a game apiece.
Jose turned in 13 points and four rebounds over the course of nearly 20 minutes against a fearsome Beermen frontline that features June Mar Fajardo, Mo Tautuaa, Vic Manuel and the much-improved Rodney Brondial.
“Maybe it’s just because I’ve always been ready. Especially for us big men, it’s our job to stop June Mar,” Jose said on his way out of Smart Araneta Coliseum.
“I guess it’s just a bonus that I was able to score like this. Our focus, really, is our defense,” he went on.
Jose was once a Gilas Pilipinas cadet. Traded to Meralco alongside Allein Maliksi back in October 2019, the former FEU standout and third overall pick of the 2017 draft struggled to crack the Bolts rotation due to lingering injuries and position redundancies.
But he stuck it out.
Jose has been solid in this Final Four race with the mighty San Miguel Beer. He wound up with 12 points and six rebounds that went with a block and a steal in Game 1.
According to Norman Black, Jose’s rejuvenated play is a product of using him early into the Philippine Cup.
“Really big. The entire conference, actually,” the returning Meralco coach said of his ward. “Toto has been really big for us. I invested playing him beginning of the conference and it’s really paying off right now because he has a lot of confidence.”
Jose also hit a tough triple early in the payoff frame, along with an and-one conversion that gave Meralco an 88-79 edge going into the home stretch.
“I was open. And I was thinking, I’ve been practicing that shot every day. We all do extra work. I guess it was simply the result of all that work,” he said.
“He’s an energizer bunny. He’s out there all the time moving and he’s very active on the floor, doesn’t back down from anybody,” said Black.
“He helps us a great deal defensively but today he gave us a lift on the offensive end,” he added.
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