Tim Cone and the coaching staff of the the Purefoods Star Hotshots had to fast track Yousef Taha’s learning process after sophomore forward Ian Sangalang got injured very early in the season.
“We believe in his ability to learn and adopt the system,” Cone told Tiebreaker Times. “But sometimes we need to pull him back because he wants to do certain things. He’ll do fine with us.”
Taha’s energy was infectious, and it was part of the reason why the Hotshots notched three straight wins capped by an inspiring 77-74 win over Meralco on Sunday.
Against the Bolts, Taha finished with 14 points and nine rebounds, including crucial plays that helped the Hotshots pull off a tough win on the road against a squad that was coming off an inspiring upset victory over powerhouse Ginebra San Miguel on Friday.
But while Taha has been thriving on the energy and hustle charts, Cone has to remind his enthusiastic player not to get carried away by his emotions.
“We love his energy and we want Yousef not to lose it,” added Cone. “But sometimes his boundless energy also becomes his downfall. Sometimes he gets too emotional. I told him not to get too emotional or too high because sometimes he loses his focus on the game.”
Cone likened Taha’s enthusiasm to Mark Barroca, the team’s ultimate energy guy.
“Like Mark, Yousef has a huge motor in terms of energy, but sometimes he’s over-revving it. He gets so gigil, just like Mark. At times, you have to tell him to get settled,” he added.
Photo by Nuki Sabio