GILAS Pilipinas cadets coach Jong Uichico lauded the efforts of Abu Tratter and Vince Tolentino, who have been doing the dirty work for the squad in the Filoil Flying V Preseason Cup.
Tratter had a team-high 13 points while Tolentino had eight points and seven rebounds in the Gilas cadets’ win over University of the East on Tuesday, earning praise from their coach.
“He just plays his role,” said Uichico of Tratter. “He is playing lang kung ano ‘yung role niya. He is energetic. He gives the rebounds, doesn’t mind not scoring. Pulot lang, cut lang.”
Uichico was also a role player during his time with the Northern Consolidated national squad and later with San Miguel. No wonder he loves players like Tratter and Tolentino.
“I admire players like that, just like Vince Tolentino, who just plays hard, plays smart.,” he added.
Against UE, Tratter was Gilas' biggest cheerleader on the court then played big in the fourth quarter to help Gilas put away a come-from-behind 63-61 win over the Red Warriors.
Aside from his scoring and rebounding, Tolentino also took on the task of guarding Alvin Pasaol, who lit up for 22 points in the game but went silent in the fourth period where the entire UE team was held to four points in total.
Uichico admitted he hasn’t seen Pasaol a whole lot to know how to defend the UE star and left it to Tolentino to get the job done.
“I told them, ‘Guys, I don’t know the guy. I mean, I’ve heard of him. He scored 40, 50 points. I don’t know the guy. You know him. Why don’t you guard him,” Uichico said.