Rising to the challenge

JEFF Chan is not one to shy away from any mantle of responsibility.

The fiery forward-guard readily met head-on the challenge of leading Rain or Shine in one critical game with a stirring performance in the week that was, earning for himself the Accel-PBA Press Corps Player of the Week honors for the period Dec. 31 to Jan. 6.
Chan became the hands-down choice to receive the final citation from the scribes for the conference when he exploded for 27 points in spearheading the Elasto Painters’ 90-83 victory over San Mig Coffee last Thursday that pushed them to a first-ever Philippine Cup finals stint.
Other Rain or Shine players in Paul Lee, Jervy Cruz, Gabe Norwood and Beau Belga also did their share, but it was widely-believed Chan’s heroics spelled the biggest difference and enabled the team to wrap up the best-of-seven semifinal duel, 4-2.
Coach Yeng Guiao said Chan’s performance, which included seven rebounds, three assists and a steal, is but expected from one whose work ethics are beyond reproach.
“Jeff has been working hard all year long,” related Guiao. “He has emerged not only as the team’s top scorer but one of its leaders as well.”
Another good thing going for Chan, according Guiao, is the fact he can hurt the opposing team in more ways than one.
“Many think of him as an outside gunner but he can score in many different ways. That makes him even more dangerous,” said Guiao.
“He can also hold his own on defense and that makes me very happy as his coach.”
It is on the offensive end Chan is more known for and he did little to lessen that belief by rebounding in a big way from a sorry three-point outing in a 67-79 loss in Game 5.
In that decisive game, Chan bucked a slow start by scoring nine points in each of the last three quarters, each time stoking Rain or Shine’s drive to its second straight finals stint.
His semis averages of 13.8 ppg, 4.5 rebounds and 2.7 assists helped prop Chan’s conference numbers to 15.3 points, 4.0 rebounds and 2.6 feeds, figures – providing he keeps the pace up – that should serve the E-Painters in good stead when they tangle with three-peat-seeking Talk N Text in the championship duel.(pr)

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