MANILA—Meralco announced its return to big-time basketball in shocking fashion, jolting crowd-favorite Barangay Ginebra, 73-72, in the opening day of the PBA Philippine Cup Sunday night.
And while Bolts main man Mac Cardona took much of the credit in Meralco’s one-point win after nailing the go-ahead basket in the waning seconds of the game, rookie teammate Shawn Weinstein, also made quite a debut.
“He ended the game, so that speaks of the kind of confidence I have for him,” said Meralco head coach Ryan Gregorio on Fil-American Weinstein, the 10th overall pick in the rookie draft.
The 5-foot-11 Weinstein, one of five rookies suited up last night, was the only rookie who actually played.
Weinstein logged 20 minutes of action against the Gin Kings and made the most out of it as he quietly introduced himself before a jam-packed crowd at the Big Dome.
“The feeling was awesome, the crowd was amazing, and there were so many people,” said Weinstein, who only had six points to show. But it was the intangibles that kept him on the court especially in the crucial stages of the game.
Weinstein, who didn’t have enough credentials to back him up during draft night, brought enough game to earn some playing time as his fellow rookies watched on the bench—including college standout Jimbo Aquino of Ginebra, who was picked two spots ahead of him.
Weinstein was particularly active defensively as he helped limit the Kings’ Jayjay Helterbrand to only four points—all of which came in the last period.
“I heard a lot of good things about the Ginebra players and coach Ryan said to us that we need come out with high energy, get back and give a lot of effort on defense, I guess that’s what I did,” added Weinstein, whose relatives from the States and grandmother from Cebu all came to the Big Dome to watch him play.
“He’s good defensively, he is good and efficient on offense, so we picked him right,” Gregorio said. Photo by Mark Giongco