Kia Picanto coach Chris Gavina did not hide his frustrations after his side lost to Michael Craig, Jr., and the TNT Katropa on Friday night — the team’s third straight defeat this early in the season-ending conference.
“It’s not been easy. It’s not been easy this past week,” admitted the youthful mentor after their 96-106 loss at the Ynares Center in Antipolo City.
As in their last two games, Kia still managed to threaten the opposition. They were even able to close within striking distance, 96-91, in the final frame, but were not able to pull any closer as they missed key baskets.
But for the outspoken Gavina, it was the lack of aggressiveness and will to win by some of his players that cost them the win and what could have been a skid-ending night.
“The guys that I had out there did not have the same look as the group of five players that I had in that third quarter that got us back into the game,” said Gavina, referring to his third canto unit of Eric Camson, Jackson Corpuz, Bong Galanza, Reden Celda, and Nico Elorde, who wiped out a huge 17-point deficit. “For me that’s hardly unacceptable. If I put you out there at the end of the game, I’m expecting you to make plays and be a big-time player.
“That will to win just doesn’t show from our whole group — maybe I’d say seven of our guys had that will to win today, especially our guys in that third quarter.”
But despite being disappointed, the Fil-American Gavina still did his best to look at the positives. Even though the Picanto bowed out, he still believes that his wards were able to play at par with — if not outplayed — the Katropa.
“I still think we outplayed them,” opined Gavina, whose side tied TNT in rebounds, 48-all; and forced their counterparts to 25 turnovers. “You look at the stats and the box scores, other than their key guys really making big shots, I still feel we had the ability to come out with that game.”
But then again, Gavina pointed out that the three-year-old franchise still has a lot of growing up to do.
“Our mental fortitude and toughness have to improve. We’re a young team, so this is a growing aspect for everybody,” he reflected. “There’s no room to feel sorry for ourselves just because we’re 0-and-three.
“I’m expecting these guys to come out with some fire Wednesday.”
And speaking of Wednesday, Kia will battle the defending Governor’s Cup champions, the Barangay Ginebra San Miguel. Gavina knows it will be a tough hill to climb, but he believes that their will to win will help them keep at pace with the Gin Kings.
“‘Upset’ won’t be the word. It’d be a miracle
“They’re just coming off a loss, so it’s not going to come easy. But if we have the will to win, we’ll be right there with them,” quipped Gavina, if they plan to wield the upset axe on the crowd favorites.
Abu Tratter plans to work his way to 2023 by continuing to do ‘the dirty work’
“It’s just humbling, definitely.”
“That’s how it is, garbage into gold. Get anything, sweep up anything and try to put it back.”
Terrence Romeo invited to join Pilipinas 3×3 for World Cup
Stronger than ever
Romeo has a lot of 3×3 basketball experience under his belt.
The 2018 3X3 World Cup will take place from June 8-12 at the Philippine Arena in Bocaue, Bulacan.
23 for 2023 cadet CJ Perez honored to help out Gilas
Having had the chance to represent the Philippines in FIBA-sanctioned cagefests such the Asia Challenge Cup and the 3X3 All-Stars back in 2016, Lyceum Pirates star CJ Perez is no stranger to the international stage.
But the 24-year-old do-it-all swingman admits that he still gets overwhelmed whenever he sees his seniors — the stars and pillars of the program — in the team. “Nasusurprise [pa rin] ako,” he said. “Mga professionals eh.
“Na-istarstruck pa rin ako sa kanila.”
Perez said so when he finally made his return within Gilas’ realms last Monday night. The last time he was with the National Team was in August 2016, when the SBP built an amateur-laden batch of Gilas cagers that served as the transition from the 2016 Olympic Qualifiers squad to the 2017 SEABA team.
“Sobrang grateful ako (sa invitation),” said the talented six-foot-two guard, after practice at the Meralco Gym.
The reigning NCAA Most Valuable Player is back in the fold for Gilas as his name, along with young, up-and-coming stars, was included in the 23 for 2023 pool — a list of cagers projected to be the contingent for the Manila-hosted World Cup.
“Iniisip ko yun (FIBA World Cup 2023) simula magtawag sila ng practice. Actually nandoon na yung utak ko eh,” the Lyceum Pirate ace bared. “Kailangan ko lang mag work hard pa para makapasok dun sa lineup na yun, kahit malayo pa.
“It’s an honor para ma-represent yung country.”
Unlike in 2016, Perez graced the court and took part in drills with the veterans such as Gabe Norwood, Japeth Aguilar, June Mar Fajardo, among others. With those type of players around him, he feels that the lessons he can get will be limitless.
“Oo sobra. Kahit kanino naman (matututo ka talaga),” Perez shared. “(At tsaka) Dito parang more on sa mental. ‘Di na iniisip yung conditioning kasi may ibang teams naman sila so about sa mental toughness [talaga].”
For now, the 23 for 2023 cadets are already working out not just for familiarity, but also to help the seniors in preparing for the 2019 FIBA World Cup Asian Qualifiers this February.
“Sobrang happy and grateful na nakakatulong ako sa kanila kahit sa simpleng practice lang.”
Blistering Mikey Williams takes home Heritage Import of the Week honor
The resurgent Saigon Heat have been the thorn to topflight clubs teams Hong Kong Eastern Basketball Club and Nanhai Kung Fu, handing both squads their first losses in the eighth season of the ASEAN Basketball League. The Heat would not have done it without Filipino-American import Mikey Williams.
Williams, a 6-foot-2 guard out of Cal State Fullerton, dropped 39 points on 14-for-25 shooting to go along with seven rebounds and nine assists in Saigon’s 121-115 overtime win over Hong Kong.
The former NBA G-Leaguer followed it up with a sensational 24-point, five-rebound, and seven-assist outing in their 96-93 win over Kung Fu.
Overall, the 26-year-old guard averaged 31.5 points, 6.0 rebounds, 8.0 assists, and 1.0 steals to edge out fellow Filipino AJ Mandani of the Singapore Slingers for the weekly award.
For the Local Player of the Week, two Alab Pilipinas stalwarts were the runners-up for the crown.
Reigning local Most Valuable Player Bobby Ray Parks, Jr. and his floor general Josh Urbiztondo had stellar weeks that earned them honorable mentions.
Urbiztondo, on the other hand, had norms of 14.5 points on a hot 9-for-17 clip from downtown.