Jhonard Clarito is making a lot of heads turn as he is helping Rain or Shine essay a perfect start in the ongoing Philippine Basketball Association On Tour preseason tournament.
An undersized forward who won a title with the San Juan Knights in the Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League four years ago, Clarito delivered a breakout performance, powering the Elasto Painters to a 100-98 win over San Miguel Beer late Wednesday at the Ynares Arena in Pasig City.
He posted 17 points on a sizzling 8-of-11 shooting from the field to draw a lot of attention, especially from Rain or Shine coach Yeng Guiao.
“I’m so happy because my teammates kept on encouraging and supporting me during practices and in the games and I’m so thankful to the coaching staff, especially to Coach Yeng Guiao, for continuing to believe in me,” the 6-foot-2 cager from De Ocampo Memorial College said.
Clarito said there is no shortcut to getting better and his good game was a product of daily grind and extra workouts.
“We usually come to practice early, to do extra shooting, before and after practice, that’s what Coach Yeng always reminds us,” he said.
Rain or Shine keeps on winning while making some experiments on the court.
Aside from converting Shaun Ildefonso to become a point guard and slowly integrating Leonard Santillan at the No. 3 spot from his usual power forward position, the Elasto Painters still won their first three games to share the early lead with Magnolia.
Guiao said Clarito’s hard work is truly impressive.
“When I took over as coach of Rain or Shine, he was already playing the wing spots, but the only difference now is that I’m giving him more minutes,” Guiao said in a telephone conversation with Daily Tribune.
“No doubt that he can provide the points as what we’ve seen when he was still playing in the MPBL, but what I’m impressed most was his defense. He can defend, chase for loose balls, battle for rebounds for his size and he’s going to be a big part of our rotation.”