04 May 2016

Chris Newsome Plays Well Beyond Rookie Status

Chris Newsome
Chris Newsome remains a rookie in name and will remain so — as long as Jared Dillinger and Reynel Hugnatan have anything to say about it — until he starts next season.

But Newsome is not playing like a rookie.

Newsome was every bit as much responsible for Meralco Bolts' win in Game 2 and Game 4 as Dillinger, who may be the Bolt's deadliest player in the semis.

Newsome began the game on the outside looking in, but in the game-turning fourth quarter of both Game 2 and 4, he played most minutes alongside fellow bench guy Dillinger, and starters Hugnatan and Cliff Hodge.The other minutes were given to import Arinze Onuaku and Jimmy Alapag.

That group turned this game on its head, outscoring the Aces 31-17 in Game 2 and, somehow, eking out a win in a game the Bolts had no business winning. In Game 4, Anjo Caram helped the starters off the bench, which made it easy for Newsome and Dillinger to play with high intensity.

Newsome wasn’t solely responsible for shutting off RJ Jazul's water, but he was the primary defender on the man who scored 18 points in Game 1 and was held to just 5 points in Game 2 and 10 points in Game 4.

If Newsome wasn’t the first name on most Bolt's lips after the game, he was a close second.

"I have to give it to JD (Dillinger) for hitting the outside shots and to Chris Newsome for scoring on layups to break their defensive lane. Arinze hung in there. He’s much more effective today. It’s a great all-around effort by our team," coach Norman Black said after the second game.

Even critics, who quickly quashed the suggestion that maybe Newsome was no longer a rookie given his heady play these past two months and Game 2 in particular, had to give the kid his due.

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