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Chris Gavina on Kia’s 0-3 start: ‘Our mental fortitude and toughness have to improve’



Philippine Sports News - Tiebreaker Times Chris Gavina on Kia's 0-3 start: 'Our mental fortitude and toughness have to improve' Basketball News PBA  PBA Season 42 Kia Picanto Chris Gavina 2017 PBA Governors Cup

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.