JOSEPH Eriobu and Jed Mendoza are in their first-ever PBA finals

Yet they played like grizzled veterans in the precious minutes they played for Magnolia during Game 1 of the Commissioner’s Cup title series against San Miguel.

The two former Purefoods 3×3 players came off the bench and did what was expected of them – provide quality minutes in a 103-95 losing cause against the Beermen Friday night at the Mall of Asia Arena. 메이저 토토사이트

Bench players come to play
Eriobu and Mendoza joined Magnolia’s third group, which also included Russel Escoto and Aris Dionisio. Coach Chito Victolero made the strategic decision to send them in during the final six minutes, gradually resting his starters as the team faced an 18-point deficit, with nothing seeming to go right for the Hotshots.
But having been trained to always be ready and on the go, the Hotshots’ third stringers slowly brought the team back into the game.

Magnolia went on a 19-6 run in the next five minutes to trim the gap at 100-95 with 1:13 left in the series opener.

Eriobu was the spark of that huge run, scoring all of his seven points during that stretch while adding two rebounds as he more than held his own against top Best Player of the Conference candidate CJ Perez.

Yun talaga ang role namin, na maging ready lang kami, makatulong kami kahit quality minutes,” said the former Mapua stalwart, who was the face of the Purefoods franchise’s 3×3 team prior to his promotion in the 5-on-5 unit.

Too bad, the comeback fell short for Magnolia as San Miguel took a 1-0 lead in the best-of-seven series.

“Hindi lang namin nakumpleto masyado na kasing malaki yung lamang,” said Eriobu.

Mendoza gets to play
Mendoza came as the fourth option of Victolero in the Magnolia backcourt after he opted to rest battered and bruised Mark Barroca, while not really getting the regular numbers from the usually reliable Paul Lee and Jio Jalalon.

“Ako naman kailangan kong i-earn ito, kasi sa practice, I’m just a sparring partner nila,” he said of Magnolia’s three-pronged guard attack of Jalalon, Lee, and Barroca.

“Pero win-win situation din sa akin kasi natutulungan ko sila, and at the same time nagiging ready din ako for moments like this,” said Mendoza, a 3×3 teammate of Eriobu, who finished scoreless, but had two steals and an assists in the five minutes he played on the court.

Despite the loss, both role players are taking with them a positive mindset heading to Game 2 on Sunday at the Mall of Asia Arena all the way to the rest of the finals.

“Hindi pa over yan. Game 1 pa lang naman,” said Mendoza.

Added Eriobu, “Nagawa namin yung role namin na makatulong sa team at mapakita sa SMB na kahit gaano kalaki ang lamang nila, yung Magnolia Hotshots basketball hindi magba-back down.

“Kung sila may Death 15, kami meron din naman.”

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