BEING surrounded by people who are always ready to give support and comfort can do wonders to a player’s game.
Just take the case of Ronjay Buenafe, who came up with two solid games in the week that was and led Barako Bull’s unexpected surge to the top of the PLDT myDSL PBA Philippine Cup to earn the Accel-PBA Press Corps Player of the Week honors for the period Nov. 18 to 24.
The 6-foot-2 shooting guard was the most consistent among coach Bong Ramos’ charges as the Energy notched back-to-back wins over Air21 and Alaska to occupy a lofty place only few expected them to be in when they underwent massive re-tooling before the season started.
In that span, Buenafe made 12 of his 25 shots from the field, including an astounding 10-for-17 from beyond the arc, to average 19 points and beat out the likes of Petron Blaze’s Arwind Santos, Barangay Ginebra’s Japeth Aguilar and GlobalPort rookie Terrence Romeo for the citation.
None is happier for the 30-year-old former Emilio Aguinaldo College standout than Ramos. “Ronjay Buenafe is a very coachable player,” he said.
“He’s always practicing hard and is always shooting around extra shots before and after training. He listens and follows instructions. Good attitude, great player.”
Buenafe said the spur is provided by his family and team.
“I’m inspired po siguro sa mga teammates ko and family,” said the man made the No. 11 pick overall by Coca-Cola in the 2007 Draft and married the last 10 years to Lucie, to whom he has two daughters.
“It’s so nice to go to practice knowing you have very supportive teammates and coaching staff,” added Buenafe. After practice naman sarap ding umuwi sa bahay because of my family waiting and taking care of me.”
That inner peace translated into game for Buenafe.
He scored 11 points, anchored on 3-for-6 three-point shooting, in just 19 minutes as Barako opened up its campaign with a cruising 88-75 win over Air21 last Wednesday, then followed that up with a conference-high 27 points in a 97-93 triumph over powerhouse Alaska four days later.
Buenafe laced his performance against the Aces with a difficult, off-balanced floater that proved to be the final go-ahead basket that capped the Energy’s fightback from two 15-point fourth quarter deficits. (NC)
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