ADRIAN Nocum was the most surprised finding himself on the court in the homestretch of the PBA Commissioner's Cup game between Rain or Shine and San Miguel Beer.
It was the fifth straight loss in as many games for Rain or Shine, although Nocum's solid play was among the positive takes for the team in the game.
The rookie guard was kept by coach Yeng Guiao in the final five minutes of the nip and tuck affair despite the game serving as his debut with the Elasto Painters.
Nocum admitted it was a move he least expected especially coming from a veteran and champion coach like Guiao.
"Nagulat ako first game ko ako yung nasa crucial (moment)," said the former Mapua Cardinal.
He actually had the ball in his hands twice in the final 31 seconds but couldn't convert on both shots as the Elasto Painters lost another close game, 115-110.
The Elasto Painters' second round pick in the last draft at no. 24 overall finished with 12 points and shot 6-of-11 from the field while adding three rebounds.
Among this year's rookie batch, his output ranks third best after the 16 of Rain or Shine teammate Keith Datu and the 15 of Phoenix guard Ricci Rivero.
Nocum, who was signed to a two-year contract two days before his PBA debut, said decision making is still an aspect of his game that needs much improvement.
In particular, he felt it was his mistake losing Marcio Lassiter on defense with 43 seconds left, giving the Gilas gunner all the space he needed to bury a pressure-packed three pointer that broke the game's final deadlock and gave the Beermen the lead for good.
"Decision-making, lalo na yung last. Isang iglap, e. Pagpasa kay (Marcio) Lassiter, libre. Ako yung nasa top kanina," he said.
"Kailangan yung mga decision-making, mas lalong tumalino sa court. Kailangan mas lalo kong pag-aralan yung ganung mga sitwasyon."
Nonetheless, he treasures the moment now that he's playing against his favorite players and the best ballers the country have.
"Sarap sa feeling na makalaro lalo na San Miguel kaagad ang kalaban," said Nocum, who was matched up with the likes of San Miguel's Chris Ross and Jericho Cruz in his first PBA game.
"Mga beterano. Binigay ko lang yung best effort ko. Yun naman ang sinasabi sa amin ni coach," he added.(RG)