In the most crucial time for Alaska, rookie Kevin Racal continues to step up — enough to earn praises from his veteran teammate Dondon Hontiveros.
Coming off as a surprise starter for head coach Alex Compton in Game 4, Racal managed to hold his ground anew in defending Rain or Shine’s gunners as the Aces picked up another victory, 86-78, in the Commissioner’s Cup Finals.
“Everytime nasa loob siya, may magandang nangyayari, quick rotation, nakatulong rin yung built niya na pahirapan si Paul Lee,” said Hontiveros on their rookie from Letran, who chipped in 5 points and 3 boards in 34 minutes of play.
According to Hontiveros, Racal’s emergence as a reliable wing defender allows Calvin Abueva to thrive in his natural 4 spot which he believes was Alaska’s key in surviving another game in the Finals.
“With Kevin doing his part, yung confidence ng team nadadala ng dalawa,” observed the Cebuano hotshot.
Only receiving minimal exposure the whole conference, the 6-foot-3 forward showed the past 2 games he can excel on the biggest stage after earning Compton’s starting 5 nod.
And for Hontiveros, it ‘speaks a lot of Racal’s attitude.
“Pinakita ni Kevin na it serves an inspiration to the other guys, even sa players sa ibang team, yung ganung attitude, yung pagiging ready niya na sinabihang first 5 siya and he was able to contribute,” said Hontiveros.
With the combination Racal and Abueva, the 38-year old sniper hopes they have enough gas to counter the Elasto Painters’ comeback on Wednesday.
“It’s good to extend the series, ito naman yung gusto naming mangyari, to live another day and continue to grow,” he said.