Simon recalls Powerade upset, hopes Star can do the same vs SMB
Without James Yap, Peter June Simon is playing a much bigger role for Star.
And on Monday, Simon proved he still has it.
Playing for almost 30 minutes, North Cotabato native shone for coach Jason Webb, leading the Hotshots to a 108-99 victory over top seed San Miguel in Game 1 of their best-of-three quarterfinals series.
Simon racked up 22 points on 7-of-13 shooting from the field, to go with four rebounds.
“Sa minutes ko nga, medyo extended kasi kulang kami. Wala si James tsaka wala rin yung ibang mga wings namin,” he noted.
Though undermanned, Simon said Star broke the duel down to the basics, saying, “Coming to this game, yung mindset lang namin is alam namin na talagang medyo malakas sila. Kaya ang inisip lang namin, the game is played five-on-five so yun lang talaga.”
And now, the prospects of an upset is in play, as the eight-seed Star forced a do-or-die affair against the Beermen on Wednesday.
The Hotshots know what it feels like being booted out as the top seed after they were eliminated by a Gary David-led Powerade Tigers back in the 2012 Philippine Cup quarterfinals.
Simon hopes the Hotshots will be the one pulling off the upset this time.
“Naalala pa namin yun. Kami yung number one, tinalo kami ng number eight,” he said. “Hopefully sa favor naman namin mangyari yun.”
But he knows that it’s not an easy task to win two games from San Miguel, and Simon is optimistic that Webb’s gameplan will once again be followed to a tee on Game 2.
“Good thing para sa amin na nag-work yung mga scheme namin sa kanila,” he said. “Either kami kasi yung maliit or sila yung maliit. Maganda naman yung kinalabasan nung scheme namin dahil about sa mga switching, nakukuha namin yung mga double team and yung mga mismatches, nare-recognize namin.”
Those allowed key guys to step up, especially Ricardo Ratliffe, who tallied 33 points and 29 rebounds, and Allein Maliksi, who went 5-of-12 from threes to wound up with 23 markers.
Simon said the Hotshots are just grateful for another opportunity to make it to the semifinals.
“Sobrang thankful kami kasi bihira naman talaga mabigyan ng ganitong pagkakataon ulit,” he said. “Coming on Wednesday, buhos na lahat. Hopefully, mabigyan kami ng magandang game ulit ni Ricardo.”
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.