MANILA, Philippines -- Rookie Kean Baclaan earned PBA D-League Player of the Week honors after serving as the anchor of Builders Warehouse-UST in their must-win games in the Aspirants' Cup.
Baclaan, a freshman out of De La Salle-Zobel, showed what he was capable of in their last two games, helping keep the Growling Tigers in the hunt for a spot in the semifinals.
He fired 16 points, six rebounds, six assists, two steals, and one block in Builders Warehouse-UST's must-win game against Wangs Basketball @26-Letran, 89-81, to book the last playoff ticket on Tuesday.
Baclaan saved his best for their quarterfinals game against Adalem Construction-St. Clare on Friday, where he exploded for 35 points on top of five assists and three rebounds. UST stayed alive with a slim 98-93 win.
His efforts led to the 19-year-old Baclaan earning the Cignal Play-PBA Press Corps D-League Player of the Week award for the period August 1 to 5 as the group, made up of sportswriters and editors covering the beat, hands out citations in celebration of the developmental league's 10th season.
He outlasted fellow nominees Romel Calahat of Apex Fuel-San Sebastian, Raven Cortez of EcoOil-La Salle, Johnsherick Estrada of Adalem-St. Clare, Juan Gomez de Liano of Marinerong Pilipino, and teammate Sherwin Concepcion for the plum.
"Bilang rookie, binibigyan nila ako ng free will na gawin yung gusto ko para manalo yung team namin," he said as Builders Warehouse came back from a 0-4 start to now move a win away from the semifinals.
Rising to the occasion when the Growling Tigers needed him the most, Baclaan vowed to still come at his best as he hopes for a grand finish for his side.
"Ngayon, ayaw na namin magpatalo," he said.