Jake Pascual would be the first to admit that not having somebody such as power forward Vic Manuel – no thanks to a knee injury – is hard on the Alaska Aces, especially for their players manning the frontcourt.
“Siyempre, aminado naman tayong lahat, at kilala naman natin si Vic Manuel, na siya ‘yung number option natin sa ilalim, at may outside shooting pa ‘di ba?” lamented Pascual, who entered the league two years after Manuel.
But as tough as it is, Pascual and his teammates see it as a challenge.
And Pascual himself rose to that on Wednesday evening.
The five-year pro out of San Beda mustered the first double-double of his career. He scored 13 points and grabbed 13 rebounds in nearly 25 minutes, to play a huge factor in the Aces’ 94-72 dismantling of the Columbian Dyip.
“Para sa akin, step up lang naman sa team ‘yun eh, kasi we’re down to four bigs na lang kami,” said Pascual. The Aces are missing the services of rookie big man GBoy Babilonia after he incurred an injury during the team’s practice.
The pressure is now on for the healthier Milkmen to deliver in the 2019 PBA Philippine Cup, while their main pieces such as Manuel, Simon Enciso, Kevin Racal, and Jvee Casio are still treading the road to full recovery.
And for Pascual, they are more than willing to do so.
“Wala ka ng aasahan kundi sarili mo rin eh, tsaka teammates mo. We take it as a challenge sa amin na big men. Although coming off the bench pa rin kami, usually hindi pa nagagamit kung minsan, kasi part of the rotation,” he said.
“Kaya ngayon, patunayan namin na may ibubuga kami, at may matutulong talaga kami sa team. Ganoon naman ang sistema namin sa Alaska eh – whoever na nandoon, kung hindi mag-perform, tulungan,” added the 30-year-old.
“Tulungan kami na para makuha yung panalo namin.”
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