Darrell Menina will be the first to admit that the pro game is very different from the games he was accustomed to in the collegiate ranks.
The schedule is different. The training sessions are also much more serious.
“”Yung naging adjustment ko sa pro league ‘yung mental toughness kasi mga kalaban, mga beterano maglaro eh.
“Kailangan consistent ako lagi sa game at gagawin ko ‘yung role ko sa team para manalo,” the 23-year-old bared.
Menina, a known gunner, was only averaging 4.6 points back in the first seven games of MJAS Zenith-Talisay in the 2021 Chooks-to-Go Pilipinas VisMin Super Cup.
But on the eighth game of the season against KCS Computer Specialist-Mandaue, the 5-foot-10 guard — who is playing as a special guest player — finally erupted.
Menina scored 25 of his 28 points in the second half. He also gave Talisay City the jolt of energy that it needed when it fell behind 40-47 at the 4:57 mark of the third canto.
“Ginawa ko lang talaga ay ‘yung tama at at sundin ‘yung pinapagawa ni Coach Aldrin [Morante]. Tsaka mindset ko ‘yung lumalamang ‘yung KCS sa amin eh, dapat manalo kami,” recalled Menina, who drained six triples in the contest.
The Cebuano can now say that he is comfortable in playing in the pros.
For him, team veterans like Paulo Hubalde and Patrick Cabahug have helped in his transition. The two have given him good advice and also pushed him hard in training.
“Sila Kuya Pau at Kuya Pat marami ng experience na big leagues eh.
“Blessed ako na tinutulungan nila ako na maging mabuting player at pinapayuhan ako kung anong dapat gawin,” he said.
Despite their record, Menina still sees a lot to improve on.
For them, there’s nothing to celebrate yet as the championship is still far away.
“Kailangan mag-finish strong kami. Kung paano kami maglaro sa every game, ‘yun gagawin namin sa remaining games namin,” he said.
“Goal namin dito sa VisMin Super Cup ay kunin talaga ‘yung championship para sulit ang sakrispyo namin, lalo na ‘yung mga team owners at management namin.”