PBA: Stern words from coach spurred Adrian Wong into best game of young career

Camille B. Naredo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Oct 19 2020 05:11 PM

Rain or Shine's Adrian Wong attacks the defense of NorthPort's Garvo Lanete in their PBA Philippine Cup game. PBA Media Bureau

MANILA, Philippines -- Rain or Shine rookie Adrian Wong submitted his best performance yet on Sunday, when he put up a team-best 15 points in the Elasto Painters' slim win over NorthPort in the 2020 PBA Philippine Cup.

Wong drilled three three-pointers and had two rebounds and two assists in Rain or Shine's 70-68 win, in the process grabbing the first Player of the Game citation of his young PBA career.

The rookie out of Ateneo de Manila University, who was taken with the fifth pick in the 2019 PBA Rookie Draft, credited his teammates and coaches for their confidence in him.

"Just my teammates, they just really believe in me. We actually believe in every one of us, and each and every one of us, we're 15-deep," said Wong. "Anyone on our team can take off, as you can see."

Wong continues Rain or Shine's well-established tradition of seeing rookies step up after being given major minutes by their coaches. Rey Nambatac and Javee Mocon have become cornerstones of the franchise, and head coach Caloy Garcia believes Wong has great potential as well.

Garcia admitted, however, that he first needed to scold the rookie in order to shake him out his shell.

"Well, Adrian stepped up," the coach said. "Actually, I shouted at him, because he kept on hesitating, he looked scared."

"I told him, 'You look scared inside, just play the way you're supposed to play,'" he added. "The nice thing is he stepped up after I said that."

After being given that kind of go-signal from his coach, Wong showed no hesitation, taking a team-high 13 shots while making five of them. He also went 2-of-2 from the line. 

Garcia noted that Wong was not the only rookie to give them a lift. Clint Doliguez, who was taken a spot after Wong, came off the bench for six points and four rebounds in under six minutes.

"We were down early, but it was Clint, it was Adrian," said Garcia. "But it's a total team effort for us."