Photo by Tristan Tamayo/INQUIRER.net
ANTIPOLO — It pays to be prepared, and for Ken Bono, he seized the moment when coach Norman Black called his number to guard June Mar Fajardo on Wednesday.
Though surprised at first, the former Adamson standout did the best he could to at least slow down Fajardo as he held the fort for the Meralco frontline against the San Miguel giant in the second half.
“Coach just told me to get ready. I’m just thankful for the opportunity that coach gave me and I did my best to help the team. You’ll never know when coach will call your number, so I’m just ready,” Bono said.
Though the Bolts went on to lose, 97-103, Bono’s presence was a huge boost in making a game out of the duel.
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“I was happy with the way Ken played,” said Black. “He’s been hurt and he just came back to practice about a week ago, and he did pretty well tonight against June Mar. He did a pretty decent job of at least trying to push him out of the lane.”
Containing a behemoth like Fajardo is admittedly tall order, but Bono was still able make life difficult for the four-time PBA MVP while also making a good account of himself on the offensive end.
Bono scored eight points on 4-of-4 shooting from the field in only 11 minutes.
“You can’t stop June Mar. You just had to contain him. I’m just thankful for coach for giving me the opportunity,” said the former UAAP MVP.
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Bono’s exemplary showing didn’t just garner praise from his own fort, but as well as from the opposing side as San Miguel coach Leo Austria also expressed glee with his former player’s performance.
“I really congratulated him because I know what he can do. He’s one of the best shooters among big men and if he will focus on his conditioning, I think he will be given playing time,” Austria, who coached Bono at Adamson, said.
The 33-year-old Bono hopes to get more opportunities to play.
“Hopefully [I get to play more], but it depends on coach. I’m just ready every game,” he said.