SMART CLARK GIGA CITY–RJ Jazul finally found his long-lost shooting touch on Thursday night.
Jazul fired nine triples en route to a career-best 33 points as Phoenix stunned defending champion San Miguel, 110-103, to clinch a quarterfinal berth in the PBA Philippine Cup.
The shooting spree of the 34-year-old sniper from beyond the arc emerged as a franchise record for the Fuel Masters, who also made a franchise-best 22 treys.
The one-time PBA champion, who was only averaging 7.9 points prior to his career game, also accounted for 23 of Phoenix’s 35 points in the fourth quarter which kept the tough Beermen at bay.
As far as he could recall, Jazul said he last had the feeling of a fiery shooting when he debuted for the Fuel Masters against the Alaska Aces, his former team, three years ago.
“Sabi ko nga, after so many years nakuha sa hukay,” he said in jest.
Despite going on a personal slump, the former Letran star kept working on his shooting from three-point line.
“Ako naman syempre practice and preparations on and off. ‘Di mo pwede sabihin na hihinto ka,” he said. “Ito nga siguro ‘yung time na dumating para sa’kin.”
Jazul was quick to credit coach Topex Robinson and his teammates, whose faith in him never wavered.
“Sabi nga ni coach, kahit ma-shoot o hindi, take the next shot basta open. Syempre pag feel mo na, medyo heat check. Ayun lang kasi ang masaya sa’min, we’re giving confidence to each other,”
Robinson knows well that Jazul’s time would come as he has known the latter since their heydays in Alaska from 2012 to 2017.
“He’s been working on his shot. The thing about me and RJ, we’ve been together way back since Alaska. He knows that I trust him with all my heart,” said the 45-year-old mentor.
“He struggles a lot but I told him, ‘If you are open, just keep taking that shot. If you are open, just keep shooting and you are going to make it.'”