Borboran blossoms from role player to Phoenix go-to-guy

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Mark Borboran finally made the noise with his game-winning putback over GlobalPort to finally get the spotlight he deserves after silently –and consistently– doing the damage in Phoenix’s slow rise in the Philippine Cup.  

Staring at a 26-point deficit, Borboran poured 12 of his 23 points in the final canto, including the all-important basket off an offensive rebound at 2.1-seconds mark that enabled the Fuel Masters to complete a scintillating comeback win over GlobalPort on Sunday.

And as it turned out, it’s yet the icing on the cake on the journey of former role player from being the go-to-guy.

In the absence of veteran but undersized big man Willy Wilson, the former UE stalwart has blossomed to become another effective weapon for head coach Ariel Vanguardia, who is squeezing everything out of his smaller rotation.

After posting a total of 15 markers in its first four games, the lanky forward averaged 19.3 points in his last three games as a starter.

“He is a silent assassin,” Vanguardia told FOX Sports of Borboran. “He’s the most quiet guy in our team pero on the court, he’s one of the more vocal.”

“He doesn’t change kung gaano gamitin mo sya kung gamitin mo siya ng 1 minute or 20 minutes, yung effort na ibibigay nya pareho,” the coach continues. “Maganda rin yung foundation niya as a player, kaya yun pinagpapala. Kung anong role na ibigay mo sa kanya, i-aacept niya lang. Talagang nirereward yung hardwork.”

Proving his worth on the team, Vanguardia added it is a challenge for Wilson, who’s been slowly recovering from stomach bum, to regain his slot now from his back-up.

But for Borboran, who added eight rebounds, three steals, and two assists, he achieved the feat from sticking to his role player mode.

“Yun talaga yung trabaho (role player), ginagawa ko lang kung ano yung makakaya ko,” Borboran told FOX Sports in a separate interview. “Ready lang palagi, tapos stay maging consistent.”

Scoring in bunches was an uncommon thing, admitted Borboran but it’s a chance he relishes to take part.

“Minsan, napapaisip kasi yun nga, di naman ako matagal ginagamit (dati), wala si Willy, tapos ako yung sinabihan ni coach, kung ano yung matutulong ko kung ano yung macocontribute ko,” he shared.

Ending the year in a fine rhythm, Borboran, though, hopes to continue his rise to relevance in 2017.

“Sana tuloy tuloy lang,” he quipped.
“Borbs is stepping up, he keep is starting role and give Willy more time to recover. Im happy playing that role pretty well and he’s accepted it; now Willy has to get it back from him, ganun, healthy competition. Talagang siya ang back-up ni Willy.”

Vanguardia wasn’t really surprised with Borboran’s performance noting that he’s been winning games for him even in the past.

“May mga game ako last conference na siya rin nagpapanalo, he’s a match-up problem, kanina pinag centro ko pa,” he added.  – Jason Mercene

Follow this writer on Twitter: @JasonMercenePH