HE may have been with Barangay Ginebra for only two practices, but import Herbert Hill can already attest to what newly minted coach Alfrancis Chua can bring to the table.
“It’s good to play for a coach like him because he just gives everyone the green light to just play their game,” said Hill, who went straight to practice after arriving in the country early Monday morning.
“When the coach has confidence in you, it goes down to the whole team," he told Spin.ph. "So far, the coaching staff has been great. They’ve been helping me adjust.”
A 6-foot-10, 240-pound center who was the Utah Jazz’s second-round draft pick in 2007, Hill is also a college teammate of Smart Gilas naturalized player Marcus Douthit who helped convince him to give the PBA a shot.
This early, he knows exactly what the Kings expect of him.
“(Ginebra) has a lot of good guards. I think they need some help inside, scoring, rebounding, and blocking shots, so I have to play an all-around game and help them in the paint,” Hill said.
And he knows he has to deliver, well aware of how demanding the fans of the league's most popular team are.
“It’s a great opportunity knowing they have the best fans in all of Asia," said Hill, who aside from the Jazz also had a stint with the Philadelphia 76ers. "I’m really blessed and happy to be here. I’m very excited about the opportunity.”
Hill last played for the Incheon Elephants in the Korean Basketball League. The Germany-born was already contacted for a PBA stint last season, but could not commit as the Elephants were then in the playoffs.
Hill, however, does have his drawbacks, having earned a reputation as a poor free-throw shooter during his career. He also has to make up a lot of ground as he last played competitively around nine months ago.
“It’s an adjustment but I have a lot of time to do that,” he said. “My goal is to work hard every day and to hopefully help the team reach the Finals.”
If he does succeed, he knows just the reward he wants for himself.
“After we win the championship, hopefully I can go to an island here,” he said with a laugh.