During the first window of the 2021 FIBA Asia Cup Qualifiers, Gilas vet Roger Pogoy of Cebu took Davao de Oro’s Rey Suerte and Davao’s Allyn Bulanadi under his wing — even hosting sleepovers in his house.
Nine months later, Suerte does not have Pogoy at his side. The latter is in Pampanga for the PBA bubble, while Gilas is in Manama for the second window.
But the 28-year-old Pogoy left one message for the 26-year-old Suerte.
“May comment siya sa isang post ko na, ‘Pasikati ko, master.’ Bisaya words ‘yun that means papasikatan daw namin siya.”
Unlike in the first window, Suerte, Isaac Go, the Nieto twins, and Bulanadi are now the leaders of this young squad.
Besides adjusting to their new roles, Suerte — who did not line up against Indonesia back in February — is also adjusting his style of play.
“May pressure sa amin kasi nga mga bata pa kami.
“Konti lang sa amin ang nakapaglaro na sa international games, but we need to adjust sa level na ito,” said the 6-foot-4 gunner.
So for the past two weeks, he and the rest of the Cadets have been training to adjust to each other.
And come Friday against Thailand, Suerte hopes that all their hard work and sacrifices bear fruit.
“Karamihan sa amin dito sa pool are very talented players, but alam namin ‘yung adjustments na dapat naming gawin para magampanan ang roles na ibinibigay sa amin.”