FINALS: Powerade Tigers 1 - 3 Talk N Text Tropang Texters
Published on September 28, 2010Player of the Week October 26 to 30

MAKING the most when the opportunity presents itself is nothing new to Joshua Urbiztondo.

That is why it came as no surprise when he came up with a breakout game for Sta. Lucia Realty last Friday and bagged what is projected to be his first KFC/Accel-PBA Press Corps Player of the Week honors for the limited period Oct. 26 to 30.

The 26-year-old rookie frolicked in his first start as point guard, notching 24 points, four rebounds, as many assists and two steals in leading the Realtors to a 101-93 win over Burger King that pushed them into second-running spot in the Philippine Cup.

Notwithstanding some hard fouls and nasty bumps levied on him, the gutsy guard still finished with a 2-of-5 clip from the three-point area, 7-of-11 from the two-point zone and 4-of-5 from the stripe and only committed one error in 34 minutes of action.

According to SLR coach Boyet Fernandez, it was only part by accident and half by design the 6-foot Fil-Am, a native of San Mateo, California, was thrust into the limelight.

“We had to change our rotation because Ryan (Reyes) was nursing a sprain, so we had to limit his minutes in our 1-guard position,” related Fernandez.

Choosing Urbiztondo to start over the more seasoned Chris Pacana proved to be the correct one as he scattered 15 points in the first half alone, helping SLR establish control early and point the team on its way to a big rebound from an 83-100 loss to Talk N Text and a third win in four games, just behind idle Alaska's 4-0 slate.

“I just wanted to come out with intensity and energy to set the tone for the game,” said Urbiztondo.  “Our coach emphasizes defense and fortunately we were able to capitalize from that on the offensive end. My job as the point guard is to orchestrate the offense and maintain leadership on the court. I felt with me playing the one and Ryan Reyes playing the two, we both can set the tone for the rest of the team on the defensive end.

“Coach Boyet gave me the opportunity and he had trust in me.. Fortunately I was able to take advantage of the opportunity and produce.”

In a way, such games are to be expected of Urbiztondo, who has shone on both ends of the court since he was at Foothill College and at Fresno Pacific University, a Division I NAIA school. He was a one-time Three-Point King runner-up and Defensive Stopper while playing for such PBL teams as Kettle Korn, Pharex and, ironically, Burger King, and also plied his wares with the Pampanga Buddies.

It came as quite a shock, therefore, when he went undrafted in the PBA Rookie Draft.

“He had something to prove since he was undrafted, and he made a statement, that he belongs in the PBA,” noted Reyes, who wound up with 15 points, five rebounds, six assists and three steals. “Our whole team was happy for him to have his breakout game and we all want him to continue what he's doing.”

“Josh has gone a long way just three weeks into the season,” said Fernandez. “The whole team is happy for him.”

Now, the Urbiztondo secret is very much out and Fernandez is among those eager to give it another go, at least against Alaska in their next game Wednesday.

“We still have to analyze the tapes of Alaska, but we'll stick with the rotation,” said Fernandez. “It will be a good matchup, (LA) Tenorio and Urbiztondo.” (NCo)


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