by Tito S. Talao
(Smart Araneta Coliseum)
5:45 p.m. – Air21 vs Rain or Shine
8 p.m. – Globalport vs Barangay Ginebra
Manila, Philippines – Down to the numbers, Eric Wise, the Barako Bull import, proved to be a chip off the old block.
Wise hit the game-winning free throw with 1.3 seconds remaining yesterday to lift Barako Bull past the Meralco Bolts, 95-94, at the start of the PBA-PLDT Home Telpad Governors’ Cup at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Wise, son of former PBA import Francois Wise, who played five seasons with U-Tex, Manila Beer, Tanduay and Hills Bros. in the ‘80s, debuted with 33 points on 12 of 21 shooting, 16 rebounds and 6 assists, showing a deft perimeter jumper and agile post-up moves capped by a baby hook shot.
His numbers were uncannily identical to the averages compiled by his hulking father, now an officer with the Los Angeles Police Department, in ranking 6th in all-time scoring with 4,332 points (behind Norman Black, Bobby Parks, Sean Chambers, Lew Massey and Billy Ray Bates) and 7th overall in rebounding with 1,769 (behind Black, Parks, Chambers, Byron ‘Snake’ Jones, Billy Robinson and Andrew Fields): 36.7 ppg., 15 rpg, 5 assists, and 1.1 steals.
Multi-titled Siot Tanquingcen, named head coach only a few weeks earlier after serving as Barako Bull team manager last conference, complimented his unheralded import.
“He may not be the flashiest among the current batch and he may not have the best credentials, but an import’s true value comes out only during actual games,” said Tanquingcen, who replaced Bong Ramos at the helm.
Wise wasn’t lacking in the pedigree department however – and it showed.
Like his father, the younger Wise displayed a willingness to take control when the game is on the line.
With the score tied, 92-all, and 33 seconds left, Wise took a pass at the low post, rolled away from four-year NBA veteran and Bolts reinforcement Terrence Williams, stopped on a dime and spun again before swishing in a hook.
Then, after Gary David hit two free throws for the game’s seventh deadlock, 94-all, with 5.3 seconds to go, the E-Colas returned to Wise against Williams along the left baseline. Wise rose to take a jumper but was fouled and hit one free throw for the game-winner.
In the second game, import Bill Walker fired 27 points as Alaska turned back San Miguel Beer, 94-87.