MANILA, Philippines – Noy Baclao was a little-used substitute for Meralco during the eliminations that appeared in just four games in just 10 minutes per game, but the veteran great shone brightly in playoff time.
The 6-foot 5-inch backup gave his best performance of the season, scoring 10 points, two rebounds, two assists and a block in the Bolts’ 91-86 victory over Magnolia in the semifinals of the Philippine Cup. PBA 2021.
Bolts head coach Norman Black said that was the reason the team chose Baclao in the 2020 offseason.
Baclao was Meralco’s best-hitting player in the game, scoring a +9 plus-minus while holding the paint for his severely underdog team that did not have the injured Raymond Almazan in center spot.
“We picked Noy for situations like this where we will need him in the playoffs to protect the biggest players,” he said Black Friday after his team avoided a 0-3 hole against the Hotshots.
“I thought he stepped in and did a good job defensively, and he also took some shots at us in the first half. And in the second half, it really helped us a lot. “
Baclao did not immediately join Meralco on Clark’s bubble in 2020, as the team gave him time to properly recover from surgery to repair his right patellar tendon rupture.
But when the moment came, the great man restored Meralco’s confidence the moment he had the big opportunity.
“Noy was great for us tonight on defense. That’s why we brought him to the team, ”said Black, Baclao’s coach at the Ateneo during his college days.
The 34-year-old Baclao made an impressive 5 of 6 from the field while strengthening Hotshot greats Ian Sangalang and Rafi Reavis.
Black added that it was only a matter of time before Baclao got back on track, and it couldn’t have come at a better time than in the playoffs.
“We knew that when we caught him he had to be ready for the start of the conference. We hope he’s ready when it’s playoff time. And at least for tonight, it was worth it for us. “
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