Tony Bishop Jr. he knows he’s stepping into extremely big shoes. However, he is not going to let pressure – imagined or otherwise – prevent him from fulfilling his role with Barangay Ginebra.
“Obviously we feel some pressure, but I’m not worried,” he told reporters just after a rousing debut at the Smart Araneta Coliseum on Friday night, where he scored 34 points and 12 rebounds to lead the defending Commissioner’s Cup champions to a 100-86 victory over Converge.
The Panamanian standout, who once helped Meralco reach the 2021 Governors’ Cup Finals, which his current club ultimately won, knows that doing so would go against his beliefs.
“I just go out there to play my game, like I do every year, in every match,” he continued. “I go out there and do what I can. I know what I can bring to the table.”
Bishop Jr. he replaced the tireless Justin Brownlee, who will not take part in the tournament while basketball leaders wait for official information on sanctions for failing a doping test at the Asian Games in Hangzhou (Asia).
Brownlee could face a lengthy international ban after traces of marijuana were found in his system after the Asiad match.
The Ginebra import played both sides in the Big Dome that night, adding three steals and a pair of blocks to his name in a balanced performance.
And while those numbers ultimately make up for an all-around game reminiscent of his former arm, coach Tim Cone believes Bishop Jr. barely scratches the surface.
“I think he has the potential to be a really good fit for us. However, we are still working on it,” he said in the post-match press.
According to Cone, the most important thing for Ginebra is figuring out how to get the most out of Bishop Jr. Fortunately, the elimination round gives the crowd’s favorites a chance to do just that.
“We have to figure out how to best utilize his particular skill set as opposed to what Justin has done for us,” Cone said.
“It’s going to take a lot of research as we go forward and that’s basically what the preliminaries are all about. So when… it’s playoff time [comes]We hope that we will have answers to all these questions by then,” said the decorated mentor.