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Pogoy shrugs off nerves to get career best in first PBA Finals trip

By: - Reporter / @MarkGiongcoINQ
05:10 PM June 22, 2017

Photo by Tristan Tamayo/INQUIRER.net

Roger Pogoy was a bundle of nerves heading into his first finals game in the PBA.

After all, despite his reputation as big-time shotmaker, he’s just a 24-year-old rookie playing in the grandest stage against the most dominant team in the league today.

“Honestly, I was really nervous,” the TNT swingman Pogoy told INQUIRER.net in Filipino after helping the KaTropa take Game 1 of the 2017 Commissioner’s Cup Finals with a 104-102 win over the San Miguel Beermen. “But my coaches and teammates gave me a lot of confidence and once I hit the court, I felt different.”

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READ: Smith game-winner lifts TNT past San Miguel for 1-0 lead

True enough, there wasn’t a trace of anxiousness the way Pogoy played and it felt as if he had been in the league for quite some time.

It’s rare for a rookie who claims to be nervous to still put up career-high 27 points, 13 in the fourth quarter, built on five 3-pointers, which goes to show Pogoy breathes rarefied air.

Pogoy said he just repaid the coaches’ faith in him and coach Nash Racela response to a reporter’s question regarding his guard’s career performance proves how much the team believes in the former Far Eastern University star’s capabilities.

READ: Keys to Victory: San Miguel-TNT finals series

“Did he (Pogoy) play well today?” Racela asked. “I really didn’t focus on those things. To me, I think what I got from Roger today was the normal things we were getting all along. Maybe it was extra special because he scored a lot.”

But despite Pogoy’s offensive brilliance, what stood out the most to Racela was his contributions on the other end of the floor.

“His defense was crucial and that’s something that we always require of him. I think he was just blessed today to hit 3-pointers and that’s something that is part of his arsenal.”

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Pogoy expects the Beermen’s defense to also tighten up on him in Game 2 after his outburst but he will be ready for the challenge ahead.

The KaTropa will shoot for a 2-0 lead on Friday night.

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