HAPEE coach Ronnie Magsanoc said the new-look Fresh Fighters only had a few practices together as a team, but says it was not an excuse for their dismal performance in their Foundation Cup opener.
For Monday’s match, Hapee only had six players from last conference’s title run and looked out of sorts, especially in the middle quarters in a loss to Jumbo Plastic.
[See Jumbo Plastic bounces back with upset of new-look Hapee]
“We only played well in the first and the fourth quarter. Jumbo is a very good team. We will try to be better as coaches and we will have to put them in a better situation,” said Magsanoc.
“No excuses. ’Yun ang sitwasyon eh,” Magsanoc said, noting that the new Hapee squad only had two practice sessions together before facing Jumbo Plastic.
Mark Romero, Arvie Bringas, Mar Villahermosa, Mark Lopez, Mike Gamboa, and Leo Gabo were added to the team after the Fresh Fighters failed to agree to terms with San Beda for a school tie-up this conference.
Red Lions playmaker Baser Amer and big man Ola Adeogun have been ordered to concentrate on the preparations for the NCAA.
[See Hapee back-to-back title bid in peril as San Beda players told to concentrate on NCAA campaign]
Adding to Hapee’s problems in preparation for this conference is that several players in Bobby Ray Parks, Garvo Lanete, Troy Rosario, Scottie Thompson, and Arnold Van Opstal are also training for the national pool for the Southeast Asian Basketball Association (Seaba) and the Southeast Asian Games this year.
“Nasa national team ’yung mga bata. Hindi naman sila puwedeng pilitin. Pero that’s the reality. We can’t solve that because the priority is always the national team,” said Magsanoc.