With former Perpetual Help star Earl Scottie Thompson watching from the stands, Altas guard Kieth Pido made sure he won’t disappoint on Thursday afternoon.
And he did it against Arellano U star playmaker Jiovani Jalalon, whom he considers as the “no. 1 point guard” in the collegiate ranks today.
The 5-foot-9 Pido dished out an all-around performance, helping the Altas get back at the Chiefs, 76-62 to gain a share of second spot in the 92nd NCAA seniors basketball tournament at The Arena in San Juan City.
Thrust into the starting guard role following the graduation of Thompson, Pido shone on both ends as he scattered 10 points, a game-high seven assists and four rebounds while helping put the clamps down on the 5-foot-10 Jalalon who struggled from the field offensively.
“Hindi ko po alam kung paano ko nagawa ‘yun. Depensa na lang muna, tapos darating rin naman ‘yung opensa,” said Pido during the post-match press conference. “Ginagawa ko lang naman sinasabi ng mga coaches namin. Ginagawa ko lang lahat ng makakaya ko.”
The presence of Thompson, who now plays for crowd darling Barangay Ginebra in the pro ranks, certainly gave Pido another source of inspiration to play at his best.
“Na-inspire po ako kay Scottie, idol ko po kasi ‘yan. Sa kanya po ako kumukuha ng motivation,” he said.
Jalalon had 19 points, but could only make seven of his 22 tries from the field while groping for form in the final canto, scoring justd three points, with Pido hounding him no end.
“Seryoso na-challenge po talaga ako kasi n. 1 point guard po siya dito sa collegiate. Ginagawa ko na lang po ang lahat para mabantayan siya at ma-stop ‘yung mga ginagawa niyang mga points,” Pido said.
The way Pido held his ground against Jalalon gave Perpetual Help coach Jimwell Gican some sort of validation that he made the right move giving him such daunting defensive task.
“Nakita ko na pwedeng tumapat kay Jalalon. Mahirap sa sitwasyon ni Keith, siya na ang no. 1 point guard namin tapos siya pa ang de-depensa,” he said. “Kaso ganito talaga ang basketball. Kailangan natin mag-trabaho ng matindi para maging successful tayo.”
“Wala akong masabi. Hands down, raise the proof,” added Gican of Pido while tipping his hat to the other Altas. “Pati na rin sa lahat ng players. “Maganda yung ginawa nila at yung kumpiyansa nila andu’n na. Sabi ko nga sa kanila, gawin nila ‘yung tama at tama rin ang maibabalik nila sa amin.” – Jerome Lagunzad
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