It may have been the gunslinging duo of Mike DiGregorio and Allein Maliksi that shone bright in the Blackwater Elite’s breakthrough win in the 2019 PBA Philippine Cup on Wednesday, but Chris Javier made his presence felt as well.
The 6-foot-5 bruiser duly fulfilled his duties as one of the Elite’s frontcourt players. He collected 16 points and 13 rebounds with three assists and a block to help his side to the 111-99 victory, which hiked their card to 1-2.
And for the 26-year-old, his performance was simply his way of repaying head coach Bong Ramos’ trust. Ramos and Javier had been together before in the University of the East Red Warriors’ program around 2013.
“Lagi naman sinasabi sa akin ng mga coaches, especially coach Bong – kasi nakasama ko na si coach Bong sa UE – he just wants me to go hard every game and every practice,” said Javier after the match at the Cuneta Astrodome.
“And thankful naman ako kahit ‘di ako perfect, yung mga lapses ko kino-correct niya lagi … Lagi niya kami pinapagalitan pero like what he’s always saying, walang personalan. Trabaho lang kasi everybody wants to win.”
Javier’s performance showed that he can step up to the plate, since Blackwater are still reeling from the departure of long-time center Poy Erram. But the three-year pro said that it’s not just him who has to deliver, but everybody else.
“Actually lahat kami, kasi halos pantay-pantay kami ng height eh,” he said. “Ang hirap nun ang laki nun … Pa’no pa kung nakalaban mo yung mga Ginebra, San Miguel, may mga malalaki. Hirap din pero trust the system lang.
“Alam naman ni coach Bong yun eh, kung ano yung maganda para sa’min. ‘Di naman niya kami ilalagay sa alanganin. We’ll just follow the system.”
Javier showed what he can bring to the table for the rebuilding Elite with Wednesday night’s huge performance. But that doesn’t mean the Biñan native is about to rest on his laurels and stick with what he has.
“I want more,” declared Javier, the fifth overall pick in the 2016 regular draft. “Parang siyempre lalo mong minamahal yung basketball pagka ganun.
“Tsaka since high school, eto na yung pangarap namin eh. I just have to work hard.”