With Gabe Norwood and Raymond Almazan missing Rain or Shine’s tussle with Phoenix due to injuries, coach Caloy Garcia dug deep from his bag of tricks.
Luckily for Garcia, his reserves delivered with the Elasto Painters drawing 56 points from their bench in their 97-82 rout, showing once again that they have the depth to compete among the league’s bests.
And Garcia didn’t fail to recognize stellar performances from his wards.
“Credit goes to the players because the other players stepped up like Ronnie Matias and Don Trollano,” he said.
Trollano sparked the Elasto Painters’ early run, firing seven of his nine points in the first quarter to set the tone for the squad, while Matias uncorked all of his eight markers in the third period to push their lead to 21, 66-45.
Though lauded for the quality minutes they provided, the two acknowledged their roles in the team and said that their performances were just a product of the team’s system.
“Wala si Gabe ngayon kaya siguro kailangan kong punan yung mga ginagawa niya. Aggressive ako sa pagkuha ng offensive rebounds, pag open, tira lang. Yun lang naman ang laging sinasabi ni coach sa akin, na aggressive lang at mag-focus sa game,” said Trollano.
(Gabe is out so I had to fill what he’s doing for our team. I’m aggressive in getting those offensive rebounds and if I’m open, I’ll shoot it. That’s the reminder coach gave me, to be aggressive and focus on my game.)
Matias, meanwhile, shared that he really wanted to contribute on the offensive end to show that he’s more than just a gritty defender.
“Sa practice pa lang, sinabi na ni coach Caloy na kailangan yung mga hindi nagagamit ng todo, kailangang mag-step up. Ayun, maganda naman ang pinakita namin. Ako, gusto kong magpakita talaga (In practice, coach told us that the players who are seldom-used must step up. We did play well. Me personally, I really wanted to perform),” he said.
The bench may have stepped up but Trollano said that nothing compares to having a team at full strength.
“Mas okay pa rin yung healthy kami lahat. Pero sa team naman namin, meron talagang nagse-step up every game. Lahat naman, may license to shoot. Pag naglalaro naman kami, lahat 110-percent binibigay namin,” he said.
(It’s still better if we’re all healthy. In this team, there’s always someone who steps up ever game. We all have license to shoot. When we’re playing, we always give our 110-percent.)
Garcia didn’t deny that there are still things the team needs to fix like their tendency to relax, the same way it did against Phoenix where the opposition still staged a late run before Jericho Cruz caught fire and put the game away for good.
“We still have problems when we have a lead and we tend to relax, we stop attacking. Hopefully, against San Miguel in our next game, we can come out stronger and be consistent in every quarter,” he said.
The Elasto Painters face the league-leading San Miguel Beermen on Friday.