Experience is the biggest teacher, and Phoenix sure is fortunate to have that on its side.
Pushed to their limit in the 2016 PBA D-League Foundation Cup Finals, the Accelerators showed their poise and outlasted Tanduay, 87-78, in Game 3 on Thursday.
“Sabi ko sa teammates ko, na-experience na namin yung mga ganoong games. Lumalamang kami ng malaki, tapos humahabol ang kalaban,” said Phoenix’s star guard Mike Tolomia.
“Ang importante sa amin, nag-stay together kami as a team lalong lalo na sa defense. Kahit nag-struggle kami sa opensa, basta sama-sama kami sa depensa, alam naming kaya naming manalo.”
Tolomia, the conference MVP, was among those who couldn’t get anything going from the field, shooting a paltry 5-of-22 clip.
He did, however, had a field day at the free throw line making 10 out of his 12 attempts to finish with 21 points, seven assists, and four rebounds.
Performing below-par all series long, this turned out to be Tolomia’s best performance in the championship duel with his aggressiveness helping Phoenix establish an early lead.
This came despite suffering from flu the whole week.
“Better na ako ngayon kasi nakapag-dextrose ako at nakainom na ng meds,” he said.
Phoenix coach Eric Gonzales also praised Tolomia for fighting through this adversity.
“Di siya nakapag-practice at may suero sya kahapon. Pero nung tinanong ko kung kaya nya, yumuko lang sya,” he said. “Good thing na pinakita nya ang leadership nya, di lang sa points pero sa mga kasama nya rin.”
“More than sa score, yung pagiging leader nya sa court, doon ako masaya.”