THINGS haven’t been easy for Go for Gold as of late.
Not only did the Scratchers lose two straight games to drop out of the top spot in the 2018 PBA D-League Foundation Cup, player availability has also been an issue for coach Charles Tiu as he unexpectedly had to deal with this in the past two weeks.
“We have no players. Vince Tolentino is not being allowed by his team and Gab Banal is gone for now,” he bared.
Tolentino has worked double-duty with the PBA D-League and the Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League (MPBL) since the start of the conference without a hitch, but curiously, he has put his full focus on his MBPL club Bataan Risers that led to him missing Go for Gold’s last two games. He is norming 8.6 points, 5.6 boards, and 3.8 dimes this conference.
Banal, meanwhile, is in Australia honoring some personal commitments that has kept him away from Go for Gold and his MPBL team Bacoor Strikers. His presence has been badly missed as he averages 17 points, 9.17 rebounds, and 3.67 assists.
Curiously, six other Scratchers are pulling off double-duty between the PBA D-League and the MPBL.
Jerwin Gaco is with Imus Bandera, Jai Reyes plays for Laguna Heroes, Kris Porter and Ron Dennison are both with Navotas Clutch, and James Martinez and Dan Wong suit up for the Bulacan Kuyas.
Tiu couldn’t help but feel alarmed that if this trend of MPBL teams prohibiting their players to suit up for him continues, he’ll be left without any players for Go for Gold, especially with the conference approaching the playoffs and this team being branded as one of the favorites to figure in the title picture.
“At the worst possible time, we’re losing our players. Paul Desiderio will also leave for UP now. So tingnan natin sa next three games,” he said.
For now, Tiu takes solace that at least, one of his problems was fixed after Go for Gold snapped its slide with an emphatic 135-91 rout of AMA Online Education on Monday to stay at the second spot with its 5-2 card.
As for who he can call up for the Scratchers moving forward, Tiu kidded that he might just be dialling a familiar set of digits if things go further down south.
“Baka si Chris Tiu na palaruin namin,” joked the brother of the Rain or Shine playmaker, who's contemplating retirement at PBA season's end.