Coach Chris Gavina was elated on Tuesday afternoon, following the Kia Picanto’s massive 78-75 upset of powerhouse team San Miguel Beermen in their lone assignment in this week’s PBA Preseason Games.
“A lot of character was revealed today from our guys,” said Gavina after the bout. “I’ve been preaching to them since the end of last conference that we stick to who we are and believe in the hard work that we put in; it will pay off.
“As you can see today, our guys were able to pull off a tough game against a champion team, even if it is preseason. It goes a long way for us, probably more than San Miguel,” he pointed out.
“It’s a big confidence-builder.”
And for Gavina, what truly made wonders for the Picanto in the victory — technically their first-ever taste of a win since going without in 11 games in the 2017 Governor’s Cup — was their effort on the defensive end.
“The fabric of our team is based on defense. One of our team goals this year is to keep teams under 80 and we kept San Miguel to 75,” the youthful mentor said.
“Honestly, that’s the only way we’re gonna come out with wins, [if] we stick to that mentality.”
The numbers actually attest to Gavina’s statement. They forced the Beermen to shoot just 31 percent from the floor, making just five of their 27 outside shots. Furthermore, the Picanto made the Beermen commit 17 turnovers.
Tuesday’s triumph is something that Kia can build on. And for the youthful bench strategist, this will be the start of the franchise’s construction of an identity for the upcoming season as a defense-oriented team.
“We’re envisioning being one of the more disciplined defensive teams,” said Gavina. “We have to be able to really maintain our uptempo pace and pressure in the backcourt defensively, generate our offense from our defense.
“We’re aiming towards a defensive mindset.”
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