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Composure key to Buenafe's vintage game

By Ivan Saldajeno

QUEZON CITY--Roi Sumang's explosion may be the main highlight of Blackwater's huge win over Alaska on Sunday night.

But Ronjay Buenafe's impressive game is something not to be overlooked.

Entering the game averaging 7.9 points a night, the six-foot-two guard somehow turned back the time by finishing with 16 points, double his usual output, in nearly 17-and-a-half minutes on four triples. He also had five rebounds, two assists, and two steals, all also higher than his averages.

"It was a great game. Napaka-crucial lahat ng possessions namin. Na-build siguro dito yung character namin," Buenafe told Dugout Philippines at the Smart Araneta Coliseum after the game about how it went.

On how he attained those numbers, which were usual during his first four seasons, the 2008 All-Rookie Team member replied, "Naging maganda lang yung execution namin. Pero sinusunod namin yung sinasabi ni Coach [Leo Isaac] na dapat composed lang kami every time."

Now teammates with top Rookie of the Year contender Mac Belo, the 33-year-old Buenafe is also performing well as a mentor to the Elite's young core.

"[Kaming mga veterans] yung naggi-guide sa kanila. Every time na magkaroon kami ng opportunity na i-correct sila, sinasabi namin para at least pagdating sa game, alam na nila yung gagawin nila," he bared what he and his fellow long-timers share to their young comrades.

The win pushed Blackwater to 5-4 and gave the team a good chance of landing at least a Top 6 or even a Top 2 spot in the quarterfinals and evading the dreaded twice-to-beat disadvantage in the next round.

But the team has Ginebra and Star, two teams also chasing the other twice-to-beat edge in the quarterfinals, as its remaining opponents.

Entering the tough homestretch, Buenafe puts his trust in Isaac.

"Mag-stick lang kami sa sistema namin. Naniniwala kami kay Coach--kung ano ang mga game plans niya," he further said.

Follow him on Twitter: @IvanSaldajeno