Aside from aching to end their four-game losing spell, the Blackwater Elite’s gunslinging guard Mike DiGregorio had another motivation that pushed him hard, Friday night against powerhouse San Miguel Beermen: his mom.
DiGregorio called his mother his “harshest critic”, saying that he always receives a call from her after every game. And after their 72-78 loss to the Magnolia Hotshots last February 2, DiGregorio confessed that his mom had lashed out at him.
“She really let me have it after [the] last game, she told me I wasn’t playing aggressive enough and I didn’t look like myself the last game,” said the Filipino-Italian, who only had two points in over 22 minutes versus the Hotshots.
“She really let me have it. She’s really blunt and straightforward, but I appreciate her a lot because I came in today with the right mindset.”
DiGregorio responded perfectly to his mother’s call. From that lackluster showing, the 27-year-old poured a game-high 26 points on five treys, on top of five assists and three rebounds, to help Blackwater end their skid with a 106-96 upset.
“It feels good to win, obviously we really needed that,” said the 35th overall pick in the 2015 Rookie Draft after their match at the Cuneta Astrodome. “I really wanted to prove to everybody and remind everybody, more importantly myself, what kind of player I am.
“And my mom, she lit a fire under me.”
But more than his personal accomplishment, DiGregorio is elated that the Elite have finally gotten over of their funk. He even lauded the way Blackwater played as a unit, as they nailed 13 treys and dished out 28 assists.
“Consistency on defense, consistency on energy, sharing the ball. When you make the extra pass and you move the ball, it’s contagious. Because I’m getting the extra pass, I feel obligated to make the extra pass and so on and so forth,” the 6-foot-1 guard shared.
“It’s a positive trickle effect to everybody.”
Blackwater have improved to 3-5, keeping their playoff chances alive. And for DiGregorio, he likes their chances of getting to the next round, expressing confidence in the players around him — Mac Belo, Poy Erram, among others.
“I really like our team’s chances. I think we have a great team, I really do. Regardless of what our record says, if you look at our lineup, we have a great team. It’s just about everyday being mentally prepared and consistency.”