Kia’s 83-78 win over San Miguel Beer was Hamady N’Diaye’s first competitive basketball game of the year, and in spite of being in bad shape, the 7-foot tower still managed to leave an imprint on the match.
In 2014, the Senegalese N’Diaye hopped from one team to another with the hopes of making a lasting impression, but never got into groove because of major injuries.
In his return to hardwood, N’Diaye, though visibly exhausted, left everything on the floor, altering shots on defense and finishing with thunderous slams on the offensive end to finish with 21 points and 4 blocks on 8-for-9 shooting.
N’Diaye said that he is grateful for the opportunity despite being a replacement for PJ Ramos, who is playing for another club team.
“Absolutely. It was nice to be back on the court. This is my first hame in 2015. I am glad to help the team win especially being here just for three days. For them to trust me enough, I appreciate it with all my heart,” he said.
“I took time off to get by body back together. I am impressed with myself. It was not just me but everybody stepped up. It’s amazing to see us fitting in together.”
The Carnival’s Asian import, Chinese Taipei native, Jet Chang, did not have an inspiring first half either, going scoreless, but after a better collective effort on defense in the second half, Chang made easy baskets in transition, attacking the rim ferociously for high-percentage shots.
He finished with 14 points and 4 steals to help the Carnival book a victory.
“We played hard and played as a team. I just tried to be aggressive all the time and get to the basket and do whatever it takes for the team,” Chang, who took the opportunity to experience Philippine basketball, shared.
“I thought it would be a pretty good experience to play in the PBA because this is my first time in the (league). There is a lot of physical contact. I got a lot of mistakes because I haven’t played for so long. I tried to find my rhythm.”
Chang was fortunate to have JR Buensuceso on the same side; both played college hoops for the Brigham Young University-Hawaii Seasiders, which copped a handful of conference titles and were the NCAA Division II tournament runners-up in 2011.
He shared the Kia guard helped him get a first glance of how basketball is played in the archipelago.
“He told me it would be very physical and the competition is very high. When I got here we talk a lot. I just ask about the situation and he teaches me a lot how to adjust to the style of play here,” Chang said.
Still adjusting to the conditions of a new league and still far from their desired forms, both reinforcements are just happy to gain new experience and have an opportunity to lead a new team as far as they can.