ROUGH patches have their way of putting things in perspective, so learned the Blackwater Elite in the ongoing PBA Philippine Cup.
Sent back to earth with back-to-back losses after winning their first two matches in the season-opening Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) tournament, the young PBA franchise said it is something it has to learn from while putting premium on playing team ball.
“Going back to our basics and play hard basketball are very important for us,” said Blackwater coach Leo Isaac following their 96-85 victory last week over the NLEX Road Warriors that put them back on the winning track.
Prior to their victory over NLEX, Blackwater (3-2) lost two straight -- to TNT KaTropa, 99-92, and Rain or Shine Elastopainters, 107-93, in that order -- which the team partly attributed to its players deviating from the team-oriented attack it is trying to uphold and maintain.
“There were situations that players wanted to play on their own [in the losses], not committing to the offensive rules that we have. It’s okay if they could produce positive results on their own but that was not the case,” the coach related.
“[During the losses] Players got frustrated and tantrums arose so we corrected it. We showed them the video of the mistakes that we made and we pointed to them that it has to be a team effort all the way,” Mr. Isaac added.
But recognizing that they are a team composed of young up-and-comers and journeymen wanting to prove themselves and earn their keep in the league, Mr. Isaac said their players are prone to sometimes overdo things on their own.
Just the same, he reminded his players that at the end of the day, the team’s cause is primary.
“With the kind of players that we have it’s somehow expected. Players want to get a big part of the limelight and wanted to prove themselves, knowing where they are at the stage of their careers. However, all efforts must be beneficial for the entire team,” he said.
The coach cited the NLEX game as a good example of what they ought to be doing, with contributions coming from various directions and the players looking after one another.
In the NLEX win, six players scored eight points or more, led by Arthur Dela Cruz with 18 markers with Kyle Pascual, Ronjay Buenafe and James Sena scoring, 16, 13 and 11, respectively.
The team also stuck together even when NLEX tried to force its will and take the game away.
“We have to have more semblance of team organization,” said Mr. Isaac as they forge ahead in the Philippine Cup and the tournaments after.
“We want team-oriented basketball, with more players performing for the team in whatever ways they can,” the coach said.
Currently, rookie Mac Belo is pacing the team with averages of 17 points, 7.6 rebounds, 2.4 assists and 1.8 steals. Sophomore Dela Cruz, meanwhile, has been good for 12.4 points, 7.6 rebounds and 2.6 assists.
Blackwater returns to the court tomorrow against GlobalPort Batang Pier.