MANILA, Philippines – With Manila-Frontrow head coach Tino Pinat opting to sit out his veterans in their Chooks-to-Go/MPBL game against Paranaque-Yabo Sports last Tuesday, Jonjon Gabriel made sure to make the most out of the situation.
Gabriel tallied 13 points and 8 rebounds in just under 13 minutes of action. He set the tone for his team, scoring 11 points in Manila's explosive 31-point first quarter that paved the way for their 106-78 rout of Paranaque.
For Gabriel, his performance is another step towards him reaching his full potential.
"Binigyan ako ng pagkakataon ni coach na makapaglaro kasi kailangan kong makabalik sa gusto kong laro," said the 26-year-old Gabriel, who was the 11th overall pick in the 2017 PBA Rookie Draft.
"Pinaupo 'yung mga beterano namin," he added, referring to Gabby Espinas and Marvin Hayes, who were given the night off. "Kaya ayun nga. Sobra pa, kasi sa akin, pangarap ko is makabalik pa sa PBA."
"Gusto ko pang umangat pa 'yung laro ko," he stressed.
Figuring in free agency in 2019, Gabriel decided to go to the MPBL and join Manila-Frontrow.
With still a lot left to prove, Gabriel vowed to do whatever he can to bring a championship to the Stars.
"Go hard lang talaga sa practice. Papakita ko lang kay coach na kaya ko maglaro," he said. "Sabay lang kami sa mga sistema niya."
In other games, Davao Occidental-Cocolife spoiled Beaujing Acot’s coaching debut as it handed Makati-Super Crunch a 79-54 beating, while the Allyn Bulanadi-led Basilan-Jumbo Plastic bounced back from a tough loss to beat Cebu, 86-79.
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