PBA: Hard work now paying off for undrafted Paniamogan
PThe 6-foot guard was not picked in the 2014 PBA Rookie Draft, but nevertheless earned a contract with GlobalPort last year. He only played nine games for the Batang Pier, however, and bounced around the PBA D-League for a while before signing with Mahi ndr a.
His stint with the Floodbuster was a quiet one entering Wednesday's PBA Philippine Cup game agai n st M er al co. Paniamogan scored in double-digits against Rain or Shine and Phoenix early in the conference, but had scored a combined four points in their past three contests. He was averaging only 4.8 points per game.
Paniamogan's time to shine came against the Bolts. With Mahindra seeking a second consecutive victory, the former JRU guard electrified Meralco, coming off the bench to fire six three-pointers – in the first half.
He finished the game with 25 points, making seven of his nine attempts from beyond the arc. Paniamogan's hot hand rubbed off on his teammates: Mahindra shot a blistering 21-of47 from the three-point area in a 105-92 victory.
"Sabi kasi ni coach sa amin, kung sino 'yung mainit sa amin, suportahan namin," Paniamogan said after the game. "Kaya noong pagka-shoot ko noong last three-points, sinunod-sunod ko na."
"Sabi nila, tumira eh," he added, grinning. "So may lisensya na ako. Kaya ayun – tinira ko naman, shumu-shoot."
Mahindra coach Chris Gavina was not surp r i sed to see Paniamogan wax hot against the Bolts. In fact, he expected it even though the player had been scoreless in their previous game.
"I really saw it coming from Christmas Day," Gavina said. "Even during the break, he was one of those guys that was asking me to keep working."
"He just does what you want him to do," he added. "He's somebody who accepts his role, and when he's called upon, he's ready to excel now."
Paniamogan readily credited his coaches and teammates for his performance. "Binibigyan nila ako ng good screens, kaya nalilibre rin talaga," he said. "Sa mga coach, sa management, sobr ang pasalamat ko sa kanila."
For Paniamogan, his game against Meralco was a testament to his hard work and perseverance, even as he admitted that it was tough for him to find himself moving in and out of the league.
"Nag-Global ako, tapos balik na naman sa DLeague," he said.
"Pero sabi ko, wala namang mawawala kapag nagsikap eh," he also said. "Kaya noong tinawagan ako, ayun, binigay ko lahat ng best ko, kung ano ang maitutulong. Buti naman, nagkaroon sila ng tiwala sa akin, dahandahan."
"'Di naman ako nawalan ng pag-asa," Paniamogan added. "Dasal lang talaga ang panlaban ko."
He is reluctant to say if he can replicate his explosive shooting in future contests, instead stressing that they will follow Gavina's game plan instead.
"'Di ko masasabi sa next game. 'Di ko naman madikta na sa akin lahat," he said. "Noong nag-init sina Mike (DiGregorio) at (Jason) Deutchmann, doon kami."
"As of now, ako 'yung nag-init, so thankful ako na nagtiwala sila sa akin."
Mahindra's Philip Paniamogan scored 25 points against Meralco.