MANILA, Philippines -- Ian Melencio was the main man for Imus Bandera during the Datu Cup, but when he transferred to Bacoor this 2019-20 Chooks-to-Go MPBL Lakan Season, his role dwindled to being a backup guard.
But when the Strikers needed to fill the huge shoes left by Gab Banal, the pint-sized guard took the ball and ran with it.
Missing main star Banal in their bout against Bulacan, the Cavite street hoops legend displayed his deadly form, dropping 13 points on a very efficient 5-of-7 clip, five rebounds, and five assists without committing a single turnover.
Melencio went on to will Bacoor to a 78-76 escape against the Kuyas, Tuesday night at the Cuneta Astrodome in Pasay.
"Sabi lang sa amin ng coaches, huwag namin subukang palitan 'yung contributions ni Gab, kung hindi magtulungan para mapantayan. Buti pumasok ang mga tira ko," said the 30-year-old playmaker.
Prior to his breakout performance, he was just posting norms of 4.96 points, nearly half of his 9.21 average in Imus last season.
Yet Melencio had no complaints, just accepting the role that the coaching staff gave to him – whether it is being the main man or the sparkplug off the bench.
"Basta kapag pinasok ako ng coaches, susuklian ko lang 'yung tiwala nila sa akin, kahit na off the bench pa or starter. Kasi every practice naman I always practice hard para pagdating sa game day, gagawin ko lang din doon," he said.
Bacoor head coach Chris Gavina gave credit to Melencio for taking the step back, and always being ready when his number was called.
"Ian shows his game day in, day out. I salute him for his professionalism because when he was brought here, his role kind of subsided between Imus and now, but when we need him to step up, he is always there in such a big way," Gavina said.
In other games, Pampanga overpowered Cebu-Casino Ethyl Alcohol, 88-77, while Pasay stunned Makati-Super Crunch, 79-61.
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