Kelly Nabong was acquired by the Meralco Bolts in a three-team deal that primarily gave the Bolts an extra body on the floor to match up against the giants of the league, even if meant giving up John Wilson.
Nabong averaged only 4.9 PPG and 3.7 RPG in 7 games this conference, but the merits of the deal were finally seen when Meralco took down San Miguel, 106-99 to force a decider next week.
He finished with 15 points and 12 rebounds, shooting 7-for-9 from the floor while trying to contain June Mar Fajardo. The hardworking big was also a plus-15 in the contest.
“We came out slow and a bit hesitant but the second group showed a lot of intensity. It is hard to stop June Mar [Fajardo], but when we get the ball out of his hands, that is the best we can do,” Nabong shared after the encounter.
“He’s 6-foot-9 and 270 [pounds]. It is hard but we came as a team together and stopped him. We have to come out with the same intensity and energy.”
Asked about how he likes his role, Nabong gave credit to coach Norman Black for giving him confidence and added he was only reciprocating the trust with effort.
“Coach Norman shows a lot of confidence by throwing me out there when I was new to the team,” he said. “That shows confidence and I have to show loyalty to him, go out there, dive for the balls, guard the bigs on the court, and give 110 percent.”
In a league where having dominant bigs change the scape, getting all the extra bodies to contribute helps a lot in succeeding, and Nabong showed it in the win to guide the Bolts to another chance to make the semi-finals.