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Tiebreaker Times


Stephen Holt aims for sustained success to cap ‘rookie’ season

Staying consistent is now the challenge for Terrafirma following a successful start to its PBA Season 48 Philippine Cup campaign on Friday night.

The Dyip got off on the right foot following a 107-99 victory over Converge, but Stephen Holt and Co. refused to get too high, as they have not yet forgotten all about what happened in the Season 48 Commissioner’s Cup.

“Now the next challenge for us is to continue to work hard,” said the 2023 top overall pick during the postgame presser at the SMART Araneta Coliseum.

It could be recalled that Terrafirma had a 2-1 start into the season-opening joust, only for that to get wasted as the crew lost its next eight games.

“We started 2-1 and the losses started to pile up, and I felt like we lost our confidence as a group,” the Fil-Am guard reflected.

There’s no better way to start building that confidence again by acing their first test and the Dyip did so, leading the FiberXers by as many as 24 before showing character down the stretch to repel the youth-laden squad.

Holt himself helped show the way, finishing with a season-high 27 points on 12-of-17 shooting from the field, alongside four rebounds and 10 assists.

His scoring output reset his PBA personal-best 26 that he set against Meralco in their Commissioner’s Cup closer last January 12 and the veteran globetrotter showed how much he’s embracing his role with the team.2024-PBA-Philippine-Cup-Terrafirma-vs-Converge-Stephen-Holt Stephen Holt aims for sustained success to cap 'rookie' season Basketball News PBA  - philippine sports news

“I just wanted to build off my performance from our last game in the last conference against Meralco. I had my career-high at that point. Coming into the quote-unquote off-season, I just went straight to work,” he said.

“I stayed in Manila, I didn’t go back to the United States, I didn’t go on vacation. I was either in the gym or weights every single day until we started training.

“At the end of the day, I’ve been a pro for 10 years, playing in high-level leagues, the work is always gonna show, and so I just gotta stay consistent in my role … just gotta continue to be a leader for this group,” he added.

#ReadMore  PBA: San Miguel flexes might on Rain or Shine, advances to semis

The work isn’t done yet for Holt and the rest of Terrafirma, though, with the former NBA G-League campaigner still adjusting to certain things now that he’s begun just his second conference in Asia’s pioneering pro league.

The 32-year-old actually had five steals against Converge and even though he takes pride in his defense, he’s working on it at the same time.

“I’ve always taken pride in my defense. But, I mean, the biggest challenge for me now that I’m playing 48-minute games here, compared to Europe I can’t pick up full court every single play, 94 feet, since I’m playing a lot of minutes. I just gotta pick my moments — playing the passing lanes, pressuring. But I’ve always taken pride in my 1-on-1 defense. I feel like I can be one of the better defenders in the league, whether I get steals or not,” he added.

“I feel like I’m communicating with my teammates,” continued the product of D1 school Saint Mary’s College.

“I’m just trying to give my teammates energy and confidence on the defensive end, and we proved that tonight.”

Written By

Oftentimes on the sidelines. Forever a student of the game. Morayta-bred.

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