By Ernest Hernandez
From the UAAP to the PBA, former FEU Tamaraw Mike Tolomia was one of the most sought-after rookies during the 2016 PBA draft because of his ferocity and scoring.
He initially started with the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters. It was not a bed of roses, needing to playing behind veteran guards like Chris Tiu, Jericho Cruz and Maverick Ahanmisi.
Now, with the Bolts, Tolomia starts anew. He will be getting more playing time, the first guard to spell starter Baser Amer.
“He is going to get an opportunity with us,” said Meralco coach Norman Black.
“He didn’t get many opportunities with the Rain or Shine team because they have too many guards there. Right now, he is the backup to Baser Amer and at some point of the game he will come in and it just happened tonight where he played really, really well.”
Tolomia scored 24 points and shot perfect from the three-point region by sinking all his six tries. It was the breakout game that he and his supporters have been waiting for.
“Nabibigyan na tayo ng chance kaya kailangan talagang grab na natin. Second chance ko na ‘to eh. Nalipat nga ako diba?” said Tolomia “Grina-grab ko lang mga opportunity na binibigay sa akin ni Coach Norman.”
But for Tolomia, he downplayed the scoring burst and insisted that he was just playing his normal game.
“Coming to this game ready lang talaga ako. Iniisip ko lang ang roles na gagawin ko. Noong pagpasok ko, iniiwan akong open… tinitira ko lang. Lalong magagalit sa akin si Coach Norma kung hindi ko ititira mga libreng tira.”
Coming off the bench and playing backup for college rival Baser Amer is nothing for Tolomia. Instead, he focuses on how to sustain the energy of Amer, who has vastly improved since his college days.
“Alam naman natin na si Baser, sobrang consistent. Kailangan mo pantayan o higitan pa pagpasok mo. Hindi naman maganda kung pagpasok mo, bababa laro ng team mo. Yun yung role ko, dapat sustain ko ang tinatakbo ni Baser sa umpisa.”
It was just Tolomia’s third game with the Bolts and the breakout game is a good sign that he is adjusting well to his new team.
“Hindi pa talaga, pero nandun na,” said Tolomia if he was fully adjusted to Norman Black’s system. “Everyday naman sa practice nagi-improve kami as a team. Nakukuha ko at nagagamay pa ang sistema.”
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