MANILA, Philippines – San Miguel missed the services of Alex Cabagnot against the Globalport Batang Pier but played as if he was there in the guise of Brian Heruela after the Beermen cruised to a 107-93 win on Wednesday, January 24.
Heruela finished with 17 points, 6 steals, 5 assists, two rebounds and a team-high plus-minus of plus-25 off the bench to compensate for the absence of Cabagnot, who was expected to be out for at least a month after suffering a foot injury according to head coach Leo Austria.
Like the clutch Cabagnot, Heruela played bigger than his 5-foot-10 frame when it mattered most as he registered 9 points in the final quarter.
The Beermen were trailing 83-85 midway the payoff period before riding on a game-clinching 18-0 run, with 5 coming from the 28-year-old Filipino-American.
Austria was left in awe of Heruela’s exploits.
“I’m so happy tonight because of my players off the bench, especially Heruela. Talagang inagaw niya 'yung show kay June Mar and then kay Arwind at saka kay Marcio Lassiter,” said Austria.
(I‘m so happy tonight because of my players off the bench, especially Heruela. He really stole the show from June Mar, Arwind and Marcio Lassiter.)
While his teammates heaped praises about his masterful performance, Heruela said it was just a matter of answering the call of duty when a man goes down.
“In my part, I’m just thankful for the opportunity and the trust that coach Leo and the coaching staff and management gave me. Guys off the bench, we just stay ready and step up to the challenge,” said Heruela.
With Cabagnot likely missing the Beermen’s next 3 games, Heruela is welcoming the task of filling the huge role left by the Mythical Five member.
“It's a big void that Alex left so hopefully, we can able to cover it up until he gets back.” – 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.