MANILA, Philippines -- After making the All-Rookie team last season, Javee Mocon opened his sophomore year in the PBA on a high note.
Mocon, the sixth overall pick in the 2018 PBA Rookie Draft out of San Beda University, tied his career-high with 25 points in Rain or Shine's impressive 87-83 win over defending All-Filipino champions San Miguel Beer.
His quick start to the game helped the Elasto Painters race to a 16-0 lead over the Beermen, and he hit the game-clinching free throws with just over a second left to play to seal the deal. Mocon shot 7-of-9 from the field, made all eight of his free throws, and grabbed six rebounds.
Afterward, ROS coach Caloy Garcia said he expected nothing less from the forward.
"When we got him, we expected him to play (like) that since last year," the coach said. "He always plays with effort, lumalaban lagi, he doesn't stop."
There were concerns that the 6-foot-3 Mocon would be a "tweener" in the PBA, but Garcia said they only had to look at the young player's pedigree to see that he could be a contributor for the Elasto Painters.
Mocon had been a stalwart for San Beda from high school to college, helping the Red Lions win four NCAA titles. He ended his last collegiate campaign as the Finals MVP when they won the Season 94 crown.
"He's a winner," Garcia said of Mocon. "He's a born winner. He played in San Beda."
Mocon, for his part, credited the Rain or Shine veterans for giving him the confidence to play his game. While he and guard Rey Nambatac have been tabbed as the future of the franchise, ROS still has Beau Belga, James Yap, and Gabe Norwood to guide the youngsters.
"(My confidence is) always high," Mocon said after his performance against SMB. "Kasi, I'm playing with James Yap, Gabe Norwood, Beau Belga."
"Ano pa ba, wala ka ng hihilingin pa eh. Andoon na lahat," he pointed out. "(With) hard work and lahat ng tinuturo ni coach, 'yung confidence should always be high."
The Elasto Painters will return to action on Friday, when they seek a 2-0 start against TerraFirma Dyip.