MANILA, Philippines -- Rookie forward Renato "Ato" Ular has emerged as one of the heroes for Blackwater as they continue their surprising run in the 2022 PBA Philippine Cup.
A few months after ending a historic losing streak, the Bossing have put together a strong start in the All-Filipino conference. At 4-1, they are in solo third place behind traditional powerhouses San Miguel Beer (6-1) and Barangay Ginebra (5-1).
The Bossing have gotten plenty of contributions from their veterans but it is the production of Ular that has been a massive difference for the squad.
Ular, a second-round pick from NCAA champion Colegio de San Juan de Letran, was impactful in his first five games as a professional and put together a double-double in Blackwater's dramatic 90-89 win against the Meralco Bolts.
His performance earned him the Cignal Play-PBA Press Corps Player of the Week award for the period June 29 to July 2.
Matched up against the veteran frontline of Raymond Almazan and Cliff Hodge, Ular stepped up to the plate and finished with conference-best marks of 19 points and 15 rebounds, while shooting 7-of-13 from the field.
He delivered in crunch time as well, hitting the game-tying basket in the final 48 seconds then setting the solid screen that freed up Blackwater guard Baser Amer for the game-winner.
Ular is the first rookie to win the Player of the Week citation this season, and the first freshman to do so since NorthPort's Jamie Malonzo in the 2021 Governors' Cup.
The 13th pick in the last draft, Ular is also the first Blackwater player to be hailed as the Player of the Week since Ray Parks earned the feat in the first week of the 2019 PBA Commissioner's Cup.
"Lagi kong pinaghahandaan kapag may game. Sobrang aga ko lagi sa court, nagshoo-shooting at nag gi-gym. Pinaghahandaan ko lagi. Kung pinaghahandaan man ako, mas pinaghahandaan ko sila," said Ular.
Ular bested TNT's Mikey Williams and San Miguel's CJ Perez, among other candidates, for the weekly honor being handed out by the men and women regularly covering the PBA beat.