PBA: Chris Newsome takes motivation from last conference’s absence to fuel Meralco
MANILA, Philippines—Last conference, Meralco was unable to make the playoffs largely due to the absence of star player Chris Newsome.
Newsome used that as motivation to power the Bolts to the PBA Governors’ Cup semifinals after squeaking past Magnolia, 113-107, at Araneta Coliseum on Wednesday.
“I missed all of last conference. It was tough just being on the sidelines, watching and just being a vocal leader. Of course, that’s a feeling we didn’t like or enjoy. I think that made us more hungry heading into this season,” the Ateneo product said.
“Now, it’s just getting me in there and getting back to a hundred percent to actually contribute to the team.”
Newsome finished with center-like numbers of 33 points and 11 rebounds to go along with seven assists and two steals despite being a wingman for Meralco.
Newsome could have scored more or tallied more dimes if he wanted to. However, if he wanted the Bolts to advance to the next round, the 6-foot-2 had to do things outside his usual arsenal.
Seeing KJ McDaniels and Cliff Hodge clobbered inside urged Newsome to do a little bit more of what’s needed for him as a guard.
“I think as you all know I’m not really about the stats. I’m not about scoring or assisting or rebounding, nothing like that. What I do is strictly what the team needs me to do. Tonight, the bigs got their hands full so the guards had to contribute on the boards so that’s what the team needed today,” the 32-year-old said.
McDaniels still came away with a double-double of his own with 27 points and 10 rebounds but Hodge, who just recently reached a PBA milestone of having 1,000 offensive rebounds, was limited to only three boards in the victory.
As the Bolts set up a date with TNT in the semifinals after Tropang Giga eliminated Phoenix earlier, 132-105, Newsome chose to relive the struggles of last conference to fuel him for another final run under coach Norman Black.
“No one likes watching their teams from the sidelines, especially when they need you in big games and they’re trying to make a playoff run but here we are,” the Gilas cadet said.
“We get another shot, everybody’s healthy and hopefully, everybody else stays that way in the next series to make a good run for the Finals.”
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