Paolo Javelona has his head coach Jimmy Alapag to thank for following his recent solid performances for San Miguel Alab Pilipinas — performances that have been providing lots of positives for the sophomore ball club.
The former NU Bulldog has been consistent for Alab ever since main point guard Josh Urbiztondo went down with an injury. And in the playoffs, he notched his game up higher, first by helping Alab sweep the Saigon Heat in the quarters.
Then in the semifinals, Javelona was in the thick of things again, collecting 11 points, eight rebounds, and four assists to help Alab sweep defending champions Hong Kong Eastern, 79-72, on the way to the Finals.
“Yung tiwala ni coach Jimmy sa’kin [nandoon],” said Javelona moments after Game Two. “He always talks to me during practice, sabi sa akin, ‘Just stay there Pao, your time will come. Magtiwala ka lang sa sarili mo.’ Yeah. Yun talaga, yung tiwala niya, lalo na si Coach Jimmy and my teammates.
“They really believe in me.”
Offense may have been the highlight of his games, but for Javelona — who has been averaging 9.6 points, 5.8 rebounds, 3.0 assists over the last five games — defense has also been the key behind such — the cager out of Bacolod has been providing remarkable intangibles on the other side of the floor in the playoffs.
In the semis against HK Eastern, there were moments when Javelona had to defend imports Marcus Elliott and Tyler Lamb, who are few inches taller than him. But he showed that heart can go over size, as he fared extremely well against the two.
“He (Alapag) just wants me to do my role – play defense and the offense will come,” shared the six-foot defensive specialist.
“I just do my job. Gusto ko lang talaga gawin yung trabaho ko as a defensive player.”
Now, as they gear up for the title bout later this April against either Mono Vampire BC of Thailand and Chong Son Kung Fu of China, Javelona assures that he and San Miguel Alab will prepare for the ultimate battle.
“We’re just gonna work hard, prepare for the Finals and let’s see what happens.”