Basilan—When the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas revealed its 12-man lineup for the first window of the FIBA Asia Cup 2021 Qualifiers, Gilas cadet Allyn Bulanadi’s name was nowhere to be found.
But instead of dwelling on it, the 22-year-old Bulanadi chose to divert his energy on things that he could control. And he used this as motivation when he suited up for Basilan-Jumbo Plastic against Iloilo-United in the Game Two of the 2019-20 Chooks-to-Go/MPBL Lakan South quarterfinals.
“Motivated ako, excited ako na makapaglaro dito tapos yun nga, nakakadagdag siya ng motivation sa akin na mas lalo kong i-go hard pa kasi ayun na nga, nasama tayo sa cut, so ayun lang. Talagang go hard lang all the way,” shared Bulanadi, who missed Basilan’s 83-68 Game One victory due to national team commitments.
“Siguro ano lang, siyempre dagdag na rin siyang motivation sa akin saka yung kumpiyansa mo iba e, lalo na nakapagtraining ka kasama yung mga pro.”
With the game on the line, Bulanadi took matters into his own hands and sliced the heart of Iloilo’s defense for a lay-in. This gave the Steel a two-point advantage, 65-63, with 1:27 left to play.
Bulanadi then fired a deep three-pointer to completely put the game out of reach, extending Basilan’s lead to five points with 48.9 ticks remaining in the game. It paved the way for Basilan to take a 70-63 victory over Iloilo and advance to the semifinals of the South Division.
The 6-foot-3 swingman, who scored five of Basilan’s last seven points, wounded up with 11 markers and five boards.
And for Bulanadi, his clutch performance against the sixth-ranked Iloilo will come down as one of his favorite moments in a Steel uniform.
“Sa akin lang, isa yun sa pinaka best moments ko as a player ng Basilan Steel. Talagang yung ganung crowd, walang papantay doon. Akala mo nag lindol sa loob ng Lamitan Gymnasium e sa tira ko nay un. Sobrang saya, solid talaga,” said Bulanadi.
With Basilan facing the second-seeded Bacoor City in the semis, Bulanadi urges his teammates to double their efforts and take the series one game at a time as he hopes to take down the powerhouse Strikers.
“Nandito na rin naman kami, one game at a time lang. Step by step, sa Bacoor muna. Siyempre Bacoor, sobrang lakas na team ‘yan e, so kailangan lang paghandaan namin yung upcoming games,” he said.
In the other quarterfinals match-up, Oping Sumalinog propelled Bacoor to a 69-60 victory over General Santos-Burlington to advance to the semis.