MANILA, Philippines -- In his third season in the PBA, TNT swingman Roger Pogoy is growing not just in terms of his game, but also his maturity and confidence.
The former Far Eastern University (FEU) standout remains TNT's leading scorer, at 19.83 points per game that he spikes with 9.67 rebounds per contest. He had a flat performance against San Miguel Beer last week (7 points), and had 15 in a losing effort against Meralco last Friday.
But he recovered his deadly form on Sunday in a crucial match-up against the Magnolia Hotshots, scoring 26 points and grabbing 8 rebounds. More importantly, Pogoy came up big in overtime, nailing the go-ahead triple with 2:35 left, then drilling the dagger with 30 seconds to go in what turned out to be an 80-75 win for TNT.
"Kailangan talaga namin manalo, kaya siguro ganoon ang nilaro namin," said Pogoy after the game. "Pero hindi naman dahil lang 'yun sa dagger ko. Tulungan, lalo na doon sa good pass ni Kuya Jayson (Castro) para mag-overtime, 'di ba."
Pogoy was referring to Castro's superb pass to Troy Rosario for the game-tying lay-up that sent the contest to overtime, 72-all.
The role of scorer is still something new to Pogoy, who made his name as a hard-nosed defender for FEU and fulfilled the same role for TNT in his first two years with the franchise.
This year, however, he has been given a bigger responsibility on offense.
"Sa totoo lang, 'di din talaga 'ko sanay na scorer talaga eh," admitted Pogoy, who took 24 shots on Sunday. "Defensive player nga ako. Hindi ako consistent sa score, pero kailangan consistent ako sa depensa 'tsaka sa rebound."
"Yan ang nasa isip ko palagi," he added.
Castro, for his part, commended Pogoy for stepping up in crunch time.
"Sinasabi ko sa kanya na eto 'yung time para ipakita mo na 'yun nga, nagma-mature na siya," said the veteran guard, who assisted on Pogoy's go-ahead three-pointer in overtime.
"Kasi before may mga time na parang natatakot pa siyang kumuha ng mga bola. Pero kanina, 'yun nga 'yung mga dying seconds sabi ko sa kanya, sa'yo na 'to," he added. "So ayun, na-shoot naman niya."
He also hailed Pogoy's smarts in the play that led up to his dagger jump shot, which saw Pogoy post up the smaller Jiovani Jalalon.
"Na-read niya 'yung defense ng maayos kasi napostehan niya 'yung maliit na guwardiya," said Castro.
What's crucial for Pogoy now is to be consistent in his performances, said TNT coach Bong Ravena.
"Kailangan talaga, 'yun na dapat. Nand'yan lang siya lagi. He needs to score, he needs to make stops. Sila ni Jayson, ika nga, dalawa sila lagi na kailangan namin especially sa offense," said Ravena.
"Kailangan hindi bumaba ang game niya. Kailangan consistent talaga siya. And hopefully 'yung iba, mag-step up," he added.
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