MANILA, Philippines – Magnolia head coach Chito Victolero applauded the effort of sophomore swingman Robbie Herndon, after he served as the bright spot on their offense in an overtime loss to the TNT KaTropa on Sunday.
In their first game of the 2019 PBA Philippine Cup, the Hotshots were a step slow on offense and lacked their usual rhythm. Making matters worse was the absence of Paul Lee in the second half, after the veteran guard aggravated an injury to his right thumb.
Herndon was the lone Magnolia player to shoot better than 50% from the field, as he put up 16 points on a 6-of-8 clip on top of 8 rebounds. Unfortunately, his efforts were not enough, as TNT came away with an 80-75 win in overtime.
"Siya 'yung maganda 'yung opensa sa amin," Victolero said of Herndon, who was acquired in a draft day trade with NorthPort after the 2017 Rookie Draft.
"Medyo sinalo niya si Paul, because hindi ko na magamit si Paul noong second half," he added. "Maganda 'yung step-up game ni Herndon."
"Sana, magtuloy-tuloy siya," the coach said.
Herndon, for his part, downplayed his career-best effort and said he was simply playing hard.
"I just continue to play my game. I know what I'm capable of. I'm still going to play in the team's system and whatnot, I play to win. Whatever it takes. I let the game naturally come to me. The shots were falling, so I kept shooting," he explained.
Known for his high-scoring ways during his stints in the PBA D-League, Herndon believes he can show off more of his game in a Magnolia team that already features several scorers.
"We have a lot of scorers on the team, and this is more of a defensive system so we focus on defense first and you know, we let the offense come to us," he said.
"If its scoring, more scoring. If its defense, defense. Just whatever happens, happens," he added.
Herndon and the Hotshots return to action on Sunday against defending champion San Miguel Beer.
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