PICKING UP THE CUDGELS
JAY Washington couldn’t have picked a better time to dish out one sterling performance.
With GlobalPort’s first-ever playoffs appearance on the line the veteran forward came through with a career game to earn the Accel-PBA Player of the Week for the period Sept. 16 to 22.
Washington poured in 30 points on top of 14 rebounds, five blocks and two assists in leading the Batang Pier past Barangay Ginebra, 113-106, in overtime last Friday and into the quarterfinals for the first time in the Mike Romero-owned franchise’s young history.
“Jay-Wash has been struggling our past few games and the way he rose to the challenge is a clear sign of how good a player he is,” said GlobalPort coach Junel Baculi.
“He didn’t let his recent funk get him down,” added Baculi. “Instead, he took the challenge by the horn and came out a winner.”
So did GlobalPort as it finished the eliminations with a 4-5 win-loss slate to eventually land a No. 5 seeding in the last eight, an unfamiliar territory for the Batang Pier, who wound up 10th and last in their first two conferences with the league.
Sol Mercado and Markeith Cummings also played vital roles but Washington was the one who led the way.
An assortment of injuries has prevented the 6-7 Zambales native from being his usual prolific self in recent seasons. He has not even topped 14 points in his first eight games with GlobalPort and went a combined 7-for-21 in their last two outings.
Yet on that particular night Washington was a sight to behold, going 10-for-20 from the field, including 6-for-10 from beyond the arc.
He scored six of his points in the extension with his last jumper making it a 109-106 count, less than 50 seconds left.
The placing carries with it a twice-to-win disadvantage against No. 4 seed and defending champion Rain or Shine, but Baculi is unperturbed since his charges seem to be cranking up their game of late.
Especially Washington, who hopes the team he joined only before the season-ending conference began will still be fighting there in the playoffs by the time his 32nd birthday comes around on Oct. 10. (NC)
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