MANILA, Philippines – Carl Montgomery had big shoes to fill as a replacement import for Denzel Bowles, but he was able to hold his own in his PBA debut.
Montgomery chalked up 20 points, 12 rebounds, 4 assists, 2 blocks, and 2 steals as Rain or Shine boosted its playoff hopes in the Commissioner's Cup with an 86-82 win over Magnolia on Wednesday, July 10.
"I felt like I played to the best of my abilities and my team picked me up," said Montgomery, who was held scoreless in the final frame but delivered a crucial block on Jio Jalalon in the final 30 seconds.
"I wasn't doing so well in the 4th quarter and they picked me up and we were able to get the win – a much-needed win."
Montgomery helped the Elasto Painters be in a good position in the playoff race as they hiked their record to 5-5, and he received some help from Bowles, whose campaign was cut short by a knee injury.
"Denzel just told me to play my game and play free, don't think too much because it's my first game, just give as much effort as I can on both ends," he said.
One thing Montgomery has to get accustomed to, though, is the physicality in the league.
"I'm adjusting to the physicality. I have to get used to it, it's a shock to my body but I've only been here what? Three days? I'll keep getting better and I'll be okay."
Montgomery will test his mettle against San Miguel as Rain or Shine seeks to punch its ticket to the quarterfinals in Cagayan de Oro City on Saturday, July 13. – Rappler.com
Delfin Dioquino dreamt of being a PBA player, but he did not have the skills to make it. So he pursued the next best thing to being an athlete – to write about them. He took up journalism at the University of Santo Tomas and joined Rappler as soon as he graduated in 2017.