Meralco import Allen Durham admitted the first time he wore a face mask, he struggled, as evidenced by the Bolts’ back-to-back losses to TNT and Barangay Ginebra.
But the long break brought about by the PBA All Star Weekend allowed the 6-foot-4 Durham some time to adjust and get more comfortable playing with his face mask on.
No wonder, the wide-bodied Durham returned to his dominant form in helping the Bolts to a 109-102 win over the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters in their PBA Governors Cup match Wednesday night.
Replacing his clear mask to a black-colored one, the Wyoming, Michigan native was back to his old, dominant self after banging in 32 points, grabbing 12 rebounds, and issuing 5 assists as the Bolts improved to 3-2.
“It’s getting a lot better, definitely getting better with the mask, so I’m happy we got a win. Coach just told me to stay aggressive no matter how uncomfortable it is,” said Durham, who sustained a nose injury after colliding with Alaska big man Sonny Thoss early this conference.
For some, Durham may look more like a villain with his face mask on, but for the Grace Bible College standout, he feels more like the famous Marvel comic character, the Incredible Hulk.
“I prefer the Hulk, the Hulk is better, I’ll keep that one,” Durham said with a wide grin.
Durham added he was fortunate his nose injury does not require surgery as doctors told him it will just heal on its own.
“It’s (nose) getting better, so hopefully I can take the mask off soon and talk to the doctor and see what they say,” he said.
With the Bolts back on the winning track, Durham said they just simply have to keep grinding as they try to surpass the franchise’s semifinal finish in the Commissioner’s Cup.
“We gotta just keep working hard on practice, don’t let anything deter us on what we want to do. We got a great team and we gonna keep on pushing,” he said. – Jason Mercene
Follow this writer on Twitter: @JasonMercenePH