PBA: Jois steps up big despite busted shoe, boosts Batang Pier
Venky Jois’ big performance in NorthPort’s latest triumph in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup on Wednesday didn’t come without some footwear issues.
“It hasn’t happened to me before, but I burst through them,” Jois said after his right shoe gave out during his 39-point, 21-rebound, six-assist, four-block output in the Batang Pier’s 111-95 win over the cellar-dwelling Converge FiberXers at Philsports Arena in Pasig City.
“My foot actually came out of the shoe. I tried to keep playing through it but my foot kept on slipping off the sneaker and we had to change it. Luckily, someone had a spare,” he added.
Jois wasn’t sure how it happened, but he decided during the fourth quarter to replace his black and red Nike LeBron NXXT for a blue Nike Ja 1, but just the one on his left foot.
That resulted in a different look aesthetically, but Jois seemed unfazed and helped the Batang Pier improve to 4-2, in a good position to claim one of the eight quarterfinal slots.
“I like these (LeBron) shoes. If they’re gonna take one away from me, I’ll keep the other one,” added Jois, who now plans to buy a new pair before NorthPort continues the challenging stretch of its elimination round schedule.
The Batang Pier are set to play two more games in the next three days, with the San Miguel Beermen (3-1) next on Friday followed by the Meralco Bolts (4-1) on Sunday, both at Philsports. Both teams are ranked higher in the team standings.
“I don’t want to pressure my players before the start of the conference, but my request to them is to reach the playoffs,” coach Bonnie Tan said in Filipino. “Hopefully, we can get some upset wins especially with this big schedule we have this week facing San Miguel and Meralco back-to-back.”
Arvin Tolentino quietly came through with 18 points in another reserve role for NorthPort, but it was rookie Cade Flores who performed well on both ends for the Batang Pier.
Flores had 13 points and 13 rebounds as he continued his impressive all-around activity.
Converge is now at 0-6, extending its losing run to 10 straight games dating back to last season’s Governors’ Cup.
The FiberXers continued their slide despite parading a new import in Jamil Wilson, who finished with 30 points and 13 rebounds.