Veteran players James Yap and Jay Washington are now beginning to get into the mix in terms of learning the Rain or Shine system.
A now healthier Yap is beginning to play more comfortably in his new role with the Elasto Painters and is more willing to embrace the team’s philosophy.
Dating miyembro ng Elasto Painters sa PBL sina Yap at Washington na kapwa ring nanalo ng kampeonato sa PBL kaya di na magiging mahirap para sa kanila ang mag-adjust.
“Masasabi ko mga 85-90 percent na naming gamay yung ginagawa sa sistema. Kasi minsan nawawala pa ako sa play. Getting there. Every practice naka-focus ako kung ano man yung mga kulang,” Yap told pba.ph.
After helping the Elasto Painters to an early win in their first game this conference, Yap continued to play solid.
But while Yap remained steady, Washington stepped up big, particularly in the endgame.
Washington had two triples and a block during that crucial stretch that punctuated the Elasto Painters’ third win in as many games to climb into a share of the lead with the Meralco Bolts.
“It was a pretty good timing coming into the game,” added Washington. “I didn’t play a lot of minutes, but the minutes I was out there were good enough to help the team win.”
Yap and Washington, though, both agreed that the early success the team is having right now is a good indication that the Elasto Painters are learning the lessons from their previous setback. Last conference, the team had a good run, taking a 5-2 win-loss card before losing to San Miguel Beer in overtime of their elimination match.
Since then, Rain or Shine had to drag itself to a knockout game against Blackwater and the Elasto Painters ended their campaign losing four of their last five games.
Pero para kay Yap at Washington, desidido silang huwag nang maulit ang mapait na karanasan.
“Natuto na kami,” said Yap.
Washington considered last conference’s experience as an eye opener.
“That really was a smack in the face,” added Washington. “Starting from that San Miguel game, it kinda snowballed from there. I think it really caught us by surprise how fast it happened, losing four of our last five. Basically, about a week and a half, we were in the top two, then all the way down to eighth place. This thing happens in a conference. It’s a learning experience, for Coach Caloy (Garcia) being the new head coach and the new guys on the team. Anybody in the team wanted us to be in a good position last conference, but we’ve learned from it. Hopefully, it won’t happen again.”
Kung puso ang pag-uusapan, walang katumbas ang laki ng puso ng isang competitor na kagaya ni Marc Pingris, ang nag-iisang Pinoy Sakuragi.
Since 2013, Marc Pingris has become an integral part of the Gilas Pilipinas program and has joined the team competing in the FIBA Asia Championship where the national squad finished silver and qualified for the FIBA World Cup.
He competed in the FIBA World Cup, the only time the Philippine quintet qualified to the world stage since 1974, in the 2015 FIBA Asia Championship, in the William Jones Cup and all the way to the Olympic Qualifying event last year.
Pingris believes it is time to change the landscape of the national team representing the country in elite tournaments.
“Nagpapasalamat ako kay Coach, pero sa akin ibigay na natin sa mga mas bata,” Pingris said. “I’m happy naging part ako ng Gilas, I’m happy ini-invite ako, tinext niya ako. Kami kasi kahit gusto naming maglaro may edad na kami eh.”
Bagamat kaya niya pang sumabak sa laban, nais niyang magbigay daan sa mga mas bata at mas energetic na manlalaro na maari pang makapagsilbi sa national team sa susunod na dalawang taon.
Sending young players to play in international competitions, according to Pingris, has become the trend for the past few years.
China, for example, sent its developmental team in the 2013 FIBA Asia Championship in Manila. The team failed to make it to the semis, but bounced back two years after, right on its home soil, when it defeated the Philippines for the gold medal and qualified outright to the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.
Last year, Iran sent a young team to surround Hamed Haddadi when the perennial Asian powerhouse squad played in Turin, Italy for the Olympic Qualifying Tournament.
“Kasi sa ibang bansa, tini-train nila yung mga bata. Para makuha nila agad yung style ng laro sa FIBA. Nakikipag-tune up game sila sa ibang bansa. Hanggat maari, i-train natin yung mga bata,” he added.
Pero hindi isinasara ni Pingris ang pagsuporta sa Gilas Pilipinas at willing siyang turuan ang mga mas batang big men na lalaro sa national team sa nalalapit na SEABA Men’s Basketball Championship.
“Willing akong magturo ng mga batang big men,” added Pingris. “Sa palagay ko doon ako makakatulong. Basta kapag ininvite ako ni Coach para tumulong na turuan yung mga batang big men gagawin ko.”
Showing his veteran smarts and leadership at the start of the brand new conference, Star playmaker Mark Barroca emerged as the second Accel-PBA Press Corps Player of the Week after leading the Hotshots to a 2-0 start in the 2017 Commissioner’s Cup.
The 5-10 Barroca beat Star teammate Peter June Simon, Meralco young guard Baser Amer and Jared Dillinger, Rain or Shine sophomore point guard Maverick Ahanmishi, Mahindra’s Ryan Arana, Alaska rookie forward Carl Cruz and TNT’s Jayson Castro for the weekly citation for the period of March 20-26.
Stepping up in place of combo guard Paul Lee, who is playing through a knee injury, Barroca came off the bench to provide the much needed spark, firing 17 points and adding 2 steals in 23 minutes as Star debuted this conference with a 101-82 rout of Phoenix last Wednesday.
Three days later, Barroca churned out an all-around effort of 8 points, 5 rebounds, the same number of assists and 2 steals, while helping Star contain 2-time PBA Scoring champion Terrence Romeo as the Hotshots registered a runaway 103-77 demolition of GlobalPort.
The Hotshots join the Meralco Bolts (3-0), defending champion Rain or Shine (3-0) and Alaska Aces (2-0) as the unbeaten squads this conference. San Miguel Beer and Barangay Ginebra are the two remaining teams that have yet to see action this conference after figuring in the best-of-seven championship series in the Philippine Cup last month.
Barroca, the 2014 Philippine Cup Finals MVP, is expected to play a bigger role for a Star side that is looking to make a fitting follow-up to its semi-final appearance in the Philippine Cup where it eventually lost to Barangay Ginebra in seven games.
Star has several days to prepare, before returning to action against winless NLEX this Friday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Coaches Leo Austria, Tim Cone and Chito Victolero are tapped to handle the three PBA selections going up against coach Chot Reyes and Gilas Pilipinas in the 2017 PBA All-Star festivities, featuring a leg each in Cagayan de Oro, Lucena and Cebu late next month.
Victolero calls the shots for the PBA Mindanao selection in Cagayan de Oro on April 26, Austria holds the rein in the Luzon squad in the Lucena game on April 28 then Cone takes the saddle on the Visayan All Stars in the Cebu match on April 30.
The three earned the honors to be this year’s PBA All-Star coaches for steering their respective PBA teams to top three finish in the recently concluded Philippine Cup.
Cone is a record holder as an eight-time PBA All-Star coach, ahead of Robert Jaworski and Derrick Pumaren who had five appearances each in the annual mid-season classic.
Austria is as an All-Star coach for the third straight year while Victolero is making his debut in the keenly awaited event.
Austria will have at his disposal 2016 All-Star MVP Alex Cabagnot, Japeth Aguilar, Terrence Romeo, Marc Pingris, Calvin Abueva, Mark Caguioa, Jayson Castro, Paul Lee and Arwind Santos.
The Visayan squad will be bannered by June Mar Fajardo, James Yap, Jeff Chan, Asi Taulava and Joe Devance.
Mac Belo, Carlo Lastimosa, Mike Tolomia, Scottie Thompson, Jio Jalalon, PJ Simon, Mark Barroca and RR Garcia are in the Mindanao team.
The skills competitions, including the three-point shootout and the dunk contest, will be featured in Lucena.
Meanwhile, various outreach programs are set in Cagayan de Oro and in Cebu.
The North All-Stars bested their Southern counterparts in the last two editions of the spectacle.
Gilas Pilipinas, meanwhile, triumphed over the PBA All-Stars, 101-93, in its last appearance in the All-Star event.
TNT KaTropa took to heart its five-point loss to Meralco the last time out and blasted Phoenix Petroleum, 134-109, in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup at the Ynares Sports Center in Antipolo Sunday night.
Jayson Castro, taking an extended rest in their game against the Bolts, finally plunged back into action and was among the Ka Tropa who churned out sterling effort in the handing the Fuel Masters another blowout loss.
Castro and his teammates pummeled the Fuel Masters badly in the middle quarters to open a 100-75 spread going into the final canto.
And the Ka Tropa just refused to get their feet off the pedal, dealing the Fuel Masters the 25-point defeat, four nights after Star crushed Phoenix, 101-82.
Phoenix is now at 1-2, its win coming at the expense of Blackwater with the help of then fill-in import Eugene Phelps.
Jameel McKay had a solid showing but didn’t get the needed support from the Phoenix local crew against the Ka Tropa who were hard to stop with their torrid shooting.
All TNT starters – Castro, Lou Amundson, Ranidel de Ocampo, Ryan Reyes and RR Pogoy – and second stringers Troy Rosario, Moala Tautuaa and Kelly Williams came up with double-digit outputs.
The Ka Tropa finished with a conference-high output with Harvey Carey, Kris Rosales, Levi Hernandez and Larry Fonacier having their contributions.
Amundson delivered 20 points and eight rebounds in what could well be his farewell game in the local pro league. Donte Greene is likely to take over in TNT’s next game.
Castro came up with 10 points, seven assists and three rebounds and the Ka Tropa hit at a remarkable 55-percent shooting as TNT sat on a 59-48 cushion at halftime.
McKay produced 15 points but Phoenix struggled with an 18-of-49 clip (36 percent) in the first 24 minutes of play.
The rout was on as Pogoy and De Ocampo rifled in three-pointers to start the second half.
TNT finished with 12 of 26 treys as against Phoenix’s six-of-26.
The Texters actually clobbered the Fuel Masters practically on all fronts.