Unheralded Rookie Ralph Cu Continues Impressive Plays

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Ralph Cu

Ralph Cu’s Contribution to Ginebra in the PBA

Unheralded rookie Ralph Cu is not expected to contribute immediately for Ginebra in the ongoing PBA 48th Season Philippine Cup. But coach Tim Cone gave him playing time, and Cu didn’t hesitate to deliver. 

Last March 14, Ralph Cu played the best game of his young career, flirting with a triple-double after registering 24 points, 10 rebounds, and nine assists. The Gin Kings survived a 95-88 gritty challenge from NorthPort Batang Pier. With the victory, Ginebra improved its win-loss record to 5-3 and solidified its chances of making it to the quarterfinals.

The 6-foot-4 stretch big man made key plays when it mattered most. He drained a three-pointer with 2:56 left in the fourth to break an 85-85 tie. That started a 7-0 run capped by a Cu assist to Christian Standhardinger for a 92-85 lead. Ginebra has won 14 straight games against NorthPort, which fell to 5-2.

Ralph Cu of Barangay Ginebra Gin Kings (Image source)

After drafting Cu in the second round and 23rd pick overall, Ginebra already knew that he would be vital for the Kings in the future since Cu played for them in the PBA 3×3 last season before being drafted. Ginebra never thought he would contribute immediately because of the depth of the paint on its frontcourt, with Japeth Aguilar and Christian Standhardinger handling it.

Cone, however, put his trust in this well-rounded rookie whenever Aguilar and Standhardinger rested. Ralph Cu delivered and is now a fixture in the lineup, having played key minutes in 7 games with the Gin Kings.

He is currently norming 8.4 points in 22 minutes of action per game. In their first game in the All-Filipino Cup against Rain or Shine, he scored 7 points as the Gin Kings earned a 113-107 victory. During his second game, Cu had 12 markers in a 102-92 drubbing of Phoenix. He went scoreless against Meralco and San Miguel, where they both lost. He had another subpar performance against Terrafirma, where he registered only 2 points in another loss. He bounced back against Blackwater with a 14-point output as Ginebra snapped a 3-game losing streak by dumping the Bossing 105-86. Cu made 4-of-7 from beyond the arc.

Coach Tim Cone admitted that he didn’t expect Cu to deliver this big early at this conference, and certainly not when Ginebra drafted him. The 27-year-old Cu was a product of Xavier School but was not highly recruited to attend college.

He went to La Salle during his college years, and after giving La Salle silver in the UAAP Season 84 Men’s 3×3 Basketball Tournament, then-Green Archers head coach Derrick Pumaren cut him and his good pal Donn Lim from the team. Instead of giving up, Cu joined Ginebra’s 3×3 team to hone his craft further. Then, in the last draft, he was picked as the 23rd overall pick in a stacked class.

Wherever his career goes, Cu hopes this will last in the first professional league in Asia.

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Ed Umbao

Founder of PhilNews.xyz | co-Founder of PhilNews.ph

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