With two main gunners out of the PBA bubble in Larry Fonacier and Cyrus Baguio, NLEX rookie Mike Ayonayon will have a lot on his plate in Clark.
And star Kiefer Ravena expects the third overall pick to make waves, saying he has the experience to do so.
“We expect big things from him (Ayonayon), especially with the absence of Larry and Cyrus. They’re playing the same position and he’s getting a lot of playing time,” said Ravena on 2OT.
Fonacier was the first player to opt out for the bubble, citing personal reasons. On the other hand, Baguio was left out of the 15-man roster of the Road Warriors.
With big expectations dropped on the shoulders of Ayonayon, one might say the rookie will easily fold to the pressure.
“He is not a rookie to be honest. He’s older than me. Matanda pa sa akin si Mike. We expect big things from him,” said Ravena.
But Ayonayon has the résumé to prove that he will not fold, and has the heart to take on the challenges head-on.
Playing in the Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League Datu Cup, the 6-foot shooting guard made waves en route to the championship with the San Juan Knights.
In the five-game Finals series against Davao Occidental Tigers, he averaged 16 points, 2.6 rebounds, and 2.6 assists. But the biggest was his Game Five explosion of 33 points on an efficient 12-of-18 clip alongside two steals.
And with that experience of winning it all in the MPBL, Ayonayon will surely embrace the challenge of stepping up in the NLEX rotation sans two experienced players.