Mike Tolomia waited for his turn and his patience paid off on Friday.
After playing sparingly in Rain or Shine’s last four games, the rookie stepped out of the veterans’ shadows and unleashed a career-best 14 points, all of which came in the second half, to help the Elasto Painters blast the Blackwater Elite in a playoff for the last quarterfinals slot.
“Sinasabi lang ni coach sa akin parati na ready lang ako. Sinasabihan niya lang ako sa practice na mag-extra shooting kasi di niya raw alam kung kailan niya ako bubunutin ulit,” he said. “Ngayon, binigyan naman niya ako ng chance makalaro at tingin ko, ready ako ngayon.”
Tolomia averaged 6.7 points in 13 minutes in Rain or Shine’s first seven games before Rain or Shine coach Caloy Garcia decided to use him sparingly in the team’s next four games, all of which ended in losses.
He scored nine points in only 13 minutes through that stretch, and didn’t even hit the court in the E-Painters’ losses to Meralco and Alaska.
But despite his lack of playing time, Tolomia never felt discouraged.
“Di ako nawawalan ng kumpiyansa kaya coming to this game, sinabi ko sa sarili ko na kapag ginamit ako, talagang aggresive pa rin ako. Di ko naman binabago yung laro ko,” he said.
Tolomia said the Painters’ biggest motivation against the Beermen is they lost to them in overtime in the elimination round last month.
“Motivation namin yung pagkatalo namin sa kanila. Isang possession na lang yung kailangan naming i-secure, panalo na sana kami eh,” he said. “Sa tingin ko, yun yung makakatulong sa amin para sa laro sa Sunday.”