Five marginal yet efficient players in the PBA today

They make the most out of their minutes once their number is called.

The problem is that they don’t get much of it. On average, they get to hit the hard court for not more than 16 minutes per game.

Still, this does not limit them in posting impressive numbers – even if they often get discarded personnel shuffling. Despite the limited playing time, these five marginal players fulfill their role efficiently. Imagine what they can do if they participated in more possessions

The stats reflected here are accurate as of May 1, 2018

Point guard – Emil Renz Palma (Blackwater Elite)

The former University of the East standout readily admitted to idolizing Lebron James and Arwind Santos. What do they have in common? They are tremendous two-way players. This is what the 6’ 1” Palma tries to emulate when he enters the match. In the ten games he has played so far this season, the orchestrator from Nueva Ecija nabbed 1.3 steals in just 13.4 minutes of action. He also collected 3.8 points at 48 percent shooting with 2.2 boards and 1.1 dimes in the same duration. He toils in the Elite’s back court rotation behind John Pinto and Roi Sumang.

Shooting guard – Robbie Herndon (Magnolia Hotshots)

He showed flashes of brilliance when he scored eight points to help the Magnolia Hotshots erase a 20-point deficit to win Game One of the 2017-18 PBA Philippine Cup Finals. In 18 games so far, he is averaging 4.1 points and a whopping 43 percent shooting from beyond the arc in just 10.3 minutes per match. Lengthen his stint and Herndon can light it up from long distance. He also grabs 2.3 rebounds in such short playing time as well. However, he has to crack a deep guard rotation with Mark Barroca, Paul Lee, Justin Melton, Peter June Simon, and Jio Jalalon.

Small forward – Carl Bryan Cruz (Alaska Aces)

It’s puzzling why the Alaska Aces coaching staff is not stretching his floor time despite an impressive stint with Gilas Pilipinas in the 2017 FIBA Asia Cup. He even had a 16-point, nine-rebound performance against the Kia Picanto in the recent Philippine Cup. He plays just 15.4 minutes per outing, but he makes his presence felt by scoring 5.4 points and grabbing 4.7 rebounds. Cruz also has a 39 percent shooting average from three-point territory. The former FEU Tamaraw is fighting for minutes with fellow Aces forwards Jeron Teng, Kevin Racal, and Jake Pascual.

Power forward – Mark Yee (Columbian Dyip)

The Dyip have found early success in the 2018 PBA Commissioner’s Cup due to their fastbreak attack. With this shift in strategy, the bruiser Mark Yee will see his minutes dwindle even more. But once he is in the game, the 36-year-old cager from Sagay City, Negros Occidental can deliver the goods. In his fourth season with Columbian, he saw the floor for only 15.2 minutes in 11 games. Still, that didn’t stop him from collecting 5.9 points, 4.6 rebounds, 0.7 steals, and 0.6 blocks. He can increase those numbers if he could only get in front of Eric Camson, Glenn Khobuntin, and Russel Escoto in the rotation.

Center – Joseph Gabayni (GlobalPort Batang Pier)

The transfer of Moala Tautuaa might not be good news for Gabayni for it will limit his appearances on the court. The former Arellano Chief, however, has shown promise each time coach Pido Jarencio uses him. While he only got 10.4 minutes per game in 14 games played, he scored four points in 53 percent shooting and crashed the boards for 3.6 rebounds. But his fate depends if he can prove that he is a more dependable big man than Tautuaa, Bradwyn Guinto, and Kelly Nabong.

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