PENANG- Blackwater rookie Roi Sumang said his courageous effort capped by the game-clinching three-pointer against the tall Zhejiang Chouzhou Commercial Bank-China team on Sunday was his way of repaying team owner Dioceldo Sy for believing in him.
Sumang admitted his confidence was down after seeing limited action during his 2-conference stint with GlobalPort, the team the selected him 26th overall in last year’s PBA Draft.
But the shifty guard out of the University of the East seemed to have found his niche with Blackwater, which took a gamble last month by acquiring him in a 3-team trade that also involved GlobalPort and Mahindra.
And yes, Sumang seemed to like challenges, especially after going up against Chinese defenders, whose shortest guard stood at 6-2.
“Siyempre medyo lamang sila (Chinese) dahil ang lalaki nila. May dalawang 7-footers sila,” Sumang said, moments after saving Blackwater from the jaws of defeat with a 3-pointer with 0.8 second left in the game en route to a 77-75 win against Zhejiang Chouzhou.
The 25-year-old Sumang, who was blocked by Zhang Dayu, the 7-foot-1 Chinese slotman during the first half, said the team never lost their hope even after trailing by as much as 10 points midway in the 2nd half.
“Go hard pa rin kami, kasi di pa naman tapos yung time. So ako, nung last shot, naiisip ko bahala na. Eh na-shoot naman,” Sumang added of his winning shot as the Blackwater bench and the small contingent of Overseas Filipino Workers erupted in frenzied celebration.
“Siguro dito ko nakuha yung kumpyiansa ko. Maganda kasi nilalaro naming bawat isa saka nagje-jell naman kami kahit bago ako sa team,” he added.
Blackwater owner Dioceldo Sy said he had no doubt that trading for Sumang 3 weeks ago was the right thing to do.
“UAAP pa lang ganun na laro niya,” said Sy, pointing to Sumang’s gutsy plays regardless of how big his defenders are. “So it’s a good trade as you can see. He led the team from the 3rd and 4th quarters.”
Blackwater, now with the tournament-leading 3-0 record, only needs to beat Karnataka State-India on Monday and the 2016 ABL champions Malaysia Dragons on Tuesday to capture the Penang Chief Minister Cup championship.
Sy believes the experience in Penang will go a long way in strengthening the character of the Elite, who are determined to finish the PBA’s season-ending Governors Cup with a flourish.
“I think we have a really good chance this coming conference in the PBA. And I hope the boys keep up the energy,” he said. – By Richard Dy
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