PBA Finals: Brandon Bates not letting the spotlight get to him

PBA Finals: Brandon Bates not letting the spotlight get to him

/ 05:09 PM June 06, 2024

SCHEDULE: PBA Finals San Miguel vs Meralco

Meralco Bolts' Brandon Bates against San Miguel defenders in the PBA Philippine Cup Finals.

Meralco Bolts’ Brandon Bates against San Miguel defenders in the PBA Philippine Cup Finals. –MARLO CUETO/INQUIRER.net

MANILA, Philippines—Meralco’s Brandon Bates has been earning praise and attention as of late with his organic uprising in the PBA Philippine Cup.

Now in the Finals of the all-Filipino tournament, Bates is still being heavily talked about but he doesn’t want the attention and the limelight to get into his head.

“Firstly, I really appreciate all the support. All the fans that have popped up online to support me. I really, really appreciate it but you can’t let it get to your head,” said an ecstatic Bates with Inquirer Sports after their Game 1 win over San Miguel at Araneta Coliseum on Wednesday.

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READ: PBA: Brandon Bates’ emergence comes timely for Cliff Hodge, Meralco

“As soon as you let it get to your head, you start to turn ‘yabang’ and say I’m good enough to do this or that and no, I’m not good enough. I’ve got so many flaws, I’ve got lots of holes in my game that I need to work on so while I appreciate it very much, it still feels a little bit unearned.”

Despite only finishing with two points, Bates was still solid in his limited 17 minutes of action with four rebounds and four blocks.

Bates has slowly been building his name as a defensive juggernaut after tallying six blocks in the Bolts’ Game 7 win over Ginebra in the semifinals.

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But that bout was with the Gin Kings.

READ: Successful against Standhardinger, Brandon Bates readies for match with June Mar

Right now against the Beermen, he’s facing what’s literally a gargantuan task in defending June Mar Fajardo.

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Fajardo tallied a monster double-double of 23 points and 10 rebounds but he surely didn’t get there easily.

“However hard you think he is, he’s about 1,000 times harder. Honestly, it’s like guarding a mountain. He’s one of the strongest players I’ve ever, ever played against,” said Bates.

“He’s so smart, he knows how to use his body. Once he’s under the basket, you’ve got no opportunity or shot.”

Guarding Fajardo is one of the main reasons why Bates wants to keep his head in the clouds and feet on the ground.

Despite the popularity he’s gaining, he still has to do the dirty work of defending one of the PBA’s best players in history.

And that is a challenge that Bates would definitely love to take for four, five, six or even seven more games.

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“It’s a challenge that you want as a rookie. You don’t want to come into the league and just be playing against mid-tier players. You want to be playing and proving yourself against the best.”

TAGS: Brandon Bates, Meralco Bolts, PBA Finals, PBA Philippine Cup

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