Defending Jayson Castro, scoring and even acting as a facilitator for Meralco are no easy responsibilities for any rookie.
But for Bolts freshman wingman Chris Newsome, he welcomed all the above-mentioned tasks, considering them as a way to make him a better player.
“It’s real tough. I mean he’s (Castro) the Best point guard in Asia for a reason. But I take it as a challenge, and maybe as a rookie, maybe to defend one of my idols, it’s kinda like a dream come true but at the same sense we’re both competitors and it shows that I can compete at this level,” Newsome told media men, shortly after Meralco completed a surprise 119-113 win over top seed TNT to grab a 2-1 PBA Governors Cup semifinal series lead.
The Bolts can finish off the Katropa on Monday with another win in Game 4 and advance to the PBA Finals for the first time since joining the league in the 2011-2012 season.
But Meralco’s fourth overall pick in the 2015 PBA Rookie Draft said he wouldn’t have been able to fulfill his multiple roles in the team apart from the pointers he gets from coach Norman Black and Jimmy Alapag.
“As far as my job is concerned, I just do what coach wanted me to do and coach Norman and Jimmy, they tell me where I can improve and what area I need to work on,” he said.
In fact, in the ongoing semifinal series against TNT, Alapag has been vocal in reminding each one to play their role and play their hearts out when they are inside the court.
“Jimmy is the one who enforces this in this team, that we have to play together, that we have to play the better team and play as a cohesive unit in order for us to complete the win,” he said.
The 26-year-old Newsome finished the game with 16 points and eight assists.
The former Ateneo Fil-Am guard/forward also punctuated his game with two highlight-reel dunks early in the fourth quarter.
His first dunk was an in-your-face, right-handed slam against TNT import Mychal Ammons, while his next was a left-handed, rim-rattler over Ranidel de Ocampo.
“I kinda realized I could get up there and if I get that opportunity again… but I saw that opportunity (to take it strong) and I decided to take it,” he said. – Richard Dy
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