Michael Phillips is back to his monster rebounding ways, this time in EcoOil-La Salle in the 2022 PBA D-League Aspirants Cup.
But the 6-foot-8 Phillips came with a deadlier offensive game in the Green Archers debut, routing Builders Warehouse-UST by 30, 112-82.
The UAAP Season 84 Mythical Team member dropped 23 points on 9-of-12 shooting from the field. He also had 13 rebounds and three blocks in just 22:51 of floor time.
That performance is much-needed, as Justine Baltazar has already graduated and the team needs a go-to guy in the paint.
And Green Archers head coach Derrick Pumaren is confident that this is just the beginning for Phillips.
“As I’ve said before, the upside of Michael is really high. We’re just seeing the tip of the iceberg,” said the veteran tactician.
“We’re expecting a different and better Michael when the UAAP starts in October.”
But the highly-athletic Phillips shrugged off his monster debut, deflecting the credit to the whole Green Archers squad.
“Masaya ako sa laro namin today lalo na like coach said, we had a lot of guys that stepped up today. For our first game, we played well, we played hard,” said Phillips.
“There were some mistakes here and there but I’m sure with coach and our system, we’ll be able to correct them.”
But the mettle of Phillips and La Salle will be tested come their next game on Tuesday when they face the loaded Marinerong Pilipino bannered by Juan Gomez de Liaño at 11 am at the Ynares Center in Pasig.
And Phillips is ready for the challenge and echoed the thoughts of Pumaren.
“It’s gonna be a totally different ballgame. We’re gonna play the veterans,” said the Green Archers coach.
“I think that game we will just treat it as a championship game. It’s gonna be a good game to see where we’re at as a team,” Phillips followed.