Challenged by his former backcourt partner, RR Garcia delivered big time for Star, hitting the clutch shots and making the crucial plays to help his team score a 105-102 overtime win on Sunday.
“Siyempre masaya ako ngayon sa unang panalo namin. Siguro na-challenge lang ako kasi si Terrence Romeo, talagang scorer yan. Kahit ma-stop mo siya, titira pa rin ng titira yan. Hindi titigil yun,” he said.
Garcia stood toe-to-toe with GlobalPort’s ace gunner, catching fire late with eight of his 26 points coming in extra time. He nailed a number of the crucial baskets in the clutch, including the game-tying drive to tie the game at 92 in regulation, as well as the go-ahead freebies off a deliberate foul called on Stanley Pringle with 8.4 seconds to play in OT.
He did that in an efficient 11-of-13 shooting clip, alongside four rebounds to lead the tough victory.
The 26-year-old guard shared that this matchup with his former teammate was no different from their other duels in the past.
“Kahit nung sa Phoenix pa lang ako, ako na yung bumabantay sa kanya kasi alam ko rin naman yung laro nya at alam nya rin yung laro ko. Binigay ko lang yung best ko para sa team, na kaya ko bantayan si Terrence,” he said.
But Garcia made it clear that all of the heat between the two stays on the court.
“Pagdating sa court, talagang syempre laro muna. Sa labas naman ng court, magkaibigan kami. Nagkausap pa nga kami kanina. Iba yung magkaibigan talaga kami.”
But the biggest triumph for the Zamboanga City native is the relief brought by the win, as the Hotshots finally broke out of their funk and nabbed their first victory in the season-ending tournament.
“Sana hindi lang ito yung huling panalo namin, sana tuloy-tuloy na rin.”