11 October 2015

Buenafe Back in Bolts Uniform

Ronjay Buenafe
Ryan Buenafe is out, but his cousin, Ronjay is back in the Bolts uniform after almost 2 years.

After being picked 11th overall by the defunct Coca-Cola Tigers from the 2007 PBA Draft, Ronjay has always been called the "steal" among his rookie batch. With the help of the then newly acquired Asi Taulava, they led the 2007 Tigers past the wildcard and faced the Alaska Aces in the quarterfinals where they lost 3-0.

The following conference, their team had a more successful eliminations compiling a 10-8 record. Once again, they ended their run at the quarterfinals, this time at the hands of the Magnolia Beverage Masters. At the end of the season, Buenafe was named to the All-Rookie Team and was among the contenders for Rookie of the Year after averaging 11.2 points, 2.5 rebounds and 2.0 assists per game.

On his second season, he duplicated his performance though it didn't translate to wins for Coca-Cola. The player from Emilio Aguinaldo College had an average of 11.1 points, 2.7 rebounds and 1.6 assist per game in his second year with the league.

For the 2009–10 season, the 6-foot-2 shooting guard was acquired by the Burger King Whoppers. He played alongside Gary David and Wynne Arboleda. Despite stellar performances (13.3 points, 2.8 rebounds and 2.2 assists per game), his team still was not able to make the playoffs.

In the middle of the 2010–11 season, Buenafe was involved in a three-way trade where he, Ronnie Matias and Beau Belga were all traded to the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters. Though he still provided what the team needed, his numbers went down: 8.3 points, 1.7 rebounds and 1.2 assists per game.

Before the 2012–13 season, he got traded again, this time to the Meralco Bolts in exchange for its 2014 first-round draft pick and provide offensive firepower alongside the backcourt duo of Sol Mercado and Mark Cardona. And he did provide a solid effort from the bench as he average 9.5 points, 2.4 rebounds and 1.0 assist per ball game.

The Bolts traded Buenafe to the Barako Bull during the 2012-2013 season to acquire the services of Jared Dillinger and serviceable bigman Don Allado. Buenafe’s minutes have seen a slight uptick under then head coach Siot Tanquingcen. In four games, he’s averaged 17.5 minutes of action, producing 6.25 points, 1.75 rebounds and 1.00 assists. He’s also shooting 41.7 percent from downtown.

In June 2014, Globalport Batang Pier, acquired Buenafe in exchange for Nico Salva, Bonbon Custudio and a 2015 second draft pick, which turned out to be Kris Rosales. With his new team, Buenafe managed to generate 6.6 points, 2.4 rebounds and almost an assist per game.

However, with a loaded backcourt at the start of the 2015-2016 season, the Batang Pier released the unprotected Buenafe before he was plucked back by the Bolts.

Will he produce the same stellar performance with the Bolts? Can he rediscover his touch from the rainbow territory where he once managed to sink almost 40.0 percent of his shots? Will the veteran play good music again with resident triggerman Gary David and promising rookie Chris Newsome? We'll find out soon enough.

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