PAGADIAN, ZAMBOANGA DEL SUR — Jordan Sta. Ana played his finest offensive performance in a Petra Cement-Roxas uniform in the 2021 Chooks-to-Go Pilipinas VisMin Super Cup, Friday night.
And it was all according to a plan hatched by head coach Eddie Laure.
“Before the game kinausap ko ‘yung bata (Sta. Ana), sabi ko atakihin mo. May lisensya ka ng umatake,” shared Laure.
The UST Tiger turned Arellano Chief helped the Vanguards takedown heavyweight Zamboanga City, 83-72, in Game Three to grab the last ticket to the Mindanao Leg Finals.
Sta. Ana, who was more of a defender in the past two games, tallied a personal-best 17 points, to go with five rebounds, four assists, and a steal in 25:40 of floor time off the bench.
Laure was grateful that his ward produced those numbers, just as he wanted him to be.
“Sinunod niya ‘yung instructions ko. Sobrang coachable kasi ni Jordan. Nakikinig sa coaches, sa players, sa mga kuya niya sa team so masaya ako nanag respond siya,” said Laure.
The green light to shoot greatly boosted the 23-year-old’s confidence on the offensive side.
Especially after his Game Two performance, where he was limited to just five points in 18 minutes.
“Malaking bagay po na binigyan ako ni Coach Eddie ng lisensya na gawin ko kung saan ako malakas, na atakihin ko ‘yung mismatch,” said Sta. Ana.
In Game Two of the semifinals second phase, Zamboanga City was able to force a decider after an 84-71 victory.
One factor that helped JPS was their bench, outscoring their Roxas counterparts, 46-21.
In the rubber match, Zamboanga still got the advantage in bench scoring. But it was not as glaring as the discrepancy was in the previous match, 37-28.
At the forefront of Vanguards bench mob was Sta. Ana, who was an energizer bunny for his squad.
“Pagkapasok ko pa lang, kailangan instant ibigay ko na lahat,” said the 6-foot combo guard.
“Syempre kailangan maging professional. Kaya nga kami nandito, nagta-trabaho kami dito so kailangan all out kaagad palagi.”
Being one of the youngest in the Vanguards’ camp, Sta. Ana has been learning left and right from the veterans of his team.
There was no shortage of role models in Roxas, with JK Casiño, James Castro, Chito Jaime, and Leo Najorda.
“Ang dami kong natututunan sa kanila sa paglalaro, nandiyan sila palagi para i-correct ako, para gabayan ako sa loob ng court,” said Sta. Ana.
Come the Mindanao Finals, a daunting task awaits the Vanguards, going against Jumbo Plastic-Basilan who gained an automatic seat to the finals after sweeping the elimination round.
But Sta. Ana is not fazed with the tough competition they’re about to battle in a best-of-three series.
He will still be the energy booster off the bench, and a reliable scorer at that when Laure needs him to be one.
“Focus pa rin ako sa laro kasi ‘yung 8-0 nila (Basilan) balewala yan kasi pagdating ng finals back to zero lahat yan. Malalaman doon kung sino talaga gusto manalo.”
Source: Tiebreaker Times