Bishop to Kings’ fore: Brownlee sub ready for everything, including pressure

Ginebra import Tony Bishop in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup. —PBA IMAGES

Tony Bishop Jr. knows that he is stepping into immensely big shoes. But he is not going to allow pressure—imagined or otherwise—to get in the way of fulfilling his role with Barangay Ginebra.

“There’s a bit of pressure, of course, but I’m not worried,” he told reporters on the heels of a rousing debut at Smart Araneta Coliseum on Friday night, where he had 34 points and 12 rebounds to power the defending Commissioner’s Cup champions to a 100-86 win over Converge.

The Panamanian standout, who once helped Meralco to the 2021 Governors’ Cup Finals that his present club eventually won, knows that doing so would be to go against his wiring.

“I’m just out there to play my game like I got to do every year, every game,” he went on. “I go out there and do what I could do. I know what I can bring to the table.”

Bishop Jr. came in as a replacement for the indefatigable Justin Brownlee, who is sitting out this tournament while basketball leaders await the official word on his sanctions for flunking a doping test in the Hangzhou Asian Games (Asiad).

Brownlee could be facing a long ban from international play after traces of cannabis was found in his system after the Asiad.

The Ginebra import delivered on both ends that night at the Big Dome, adding three steals and a pair of blocks to his name for a balanced outing.

And while those numbers ultimately make up for an all-around performance reminiscent of his old hand, coach Tim Cone feels that Bishop Jr. is barely scratching the surface.

“I think he has the potential to be a really, really good fit for us. But again, it’s a work in progress, still,” he said in the post-game presser.

What’s paramount for Ginebra is to determine how to best utilize Bishop Jr., according to Cone. Fortunately, the elimination round affords the crowd darlings a chance to do just that.

“We got to figure out how to best use his particular skills, as opposed to what Justin did for us,” Cone said.

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“That’s gonna take a lot of exploration as we move forward and that’s basically for us what the eliminations are all about. So when .. playoff time [comes], we hope to have all those questions answered by that time,” the decorated mentor said.

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