MANILA, Philippines -- Despite struggling with foul trouble, James Farr made a strong contribution to Magnolia's second consecutive victory in the 2019 PBA Commissioner's Cup on Sunday.
The 26-year-old import scored 22 points, going 9-of-15 from the field, and grabbed 11 rebounds in the Hotshots' 110-103 triumph over Columbian Dyip. He played just over 25 minutes, and sat out a bulk of fourth quarter as he was saddled with five fouls.
Fortunately for Magnolia, Farr had plenty of help. Ian Sangalang picked up the slack, also scoring 22 points, while Paul Lee scored 11 of his 21 markers in the pivotal third quarter wherein they broke the game open.
"He's not athletic just like the other imports, but the important thing is 'yung fit sa system namin eh. He has a good basketball IQ, plus the fact na mabilis siya mag-adjust," Magnolia coach Chito Victolero said of Farr, who played collegiate basketball for Xavier University.
Victolero admitted that Farr was thrust into a difficult situation: the import was brought in just last Monday to replace the ineffective John Fields, then immediately had to play a game on Wednesday against NorthPort. It was a poor debut for Farr, who had 11 points on 5-of-26 shooting along with 14 rebounds and 6 turnovers.
He made up for it with a 24-point, 21-rebound outing as Magnolia won its first game by beating NLEX, 98-88, on Friday.
"Mahirap 'yung binigay namin sa kanya," Victolero said, referring to the tough schedule that saw them play three games in a week.
"We have to be patient with him kasi medyo mabigat 'yun. Dumating siya noong Monday, he needed to play three games, consecutive three games. Mabigat talaga," he said.
Still, it was clear that the import was giving his best effort in every game, and for that Victolero is thankful. Jio Jalalon, who had 17 points, 12 rebounds, and 7 assists in their win, was similarly impressed with Farr's effort.
"Three games, jetlagged pa, pero maganda naman ang performance niya," said Jalalon, who nevertheless said that their upcoming games against Phoenix and Magnolia will be Farr's real test.
"Masasabi ko naman na okay naman, pasok naman ang ano niya sa amin. Kasi nga, scorer then, and then may poste, so maganda naman 'yung pinapakita niya sa amin," he said.
For now, Victolero is looking forward to their upcoming weeklong break as a way to integrate Farr into their system.
"Hindi pa niya alam 'yung system. Kung paano dedepensa, paano 'yung sistema namin sa opensa. But you know, these next four days, five days, malaking tulong 'yun para sa kanya, para sa susunod naming game," said the coach.
"Yung next five days, malaking tulong 'yun para maka-recover siya at bumalik 'yung kanyang rhythm," Victolero also said.
Magnolia plays Phoenix on June 22.
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