WITH one game under Team Pilipinas' belt, coach Yeng Guiao's small forward experiment has yet to live up to expectations.
But it doesn't mean that the players have performed below par.
Arwind Santos and Troy Rosario alternated playing at the three-spot in the Philippines' 98-92 defeat to Jordan in their tuneup game on Monday. The two accounted for a combined 12 points as they, same with the rest of the squad, tried to get the feel of their new teammates.
"Ang basehan ko yung training ng team namin. Parang kulang talaga eh, pero kailangan namin gawin ang lahat ng paraan para maging maayos lahat, lalo na sa offense namin dahil sabi nga ni coach Yeng, yung offense namin hindi pa ganoon kalinis," said Santos.
The duo, though, argued that it's only a matter of time before they can get a hang of their new roles, especially with their past stints helping them in this endeavor.
"It's not the first time naman na lalaro ako sa three para sa national team. Yung sa Olympic qualifiers, three din ang nilaro ko pero magkaibang sistema lang. Medyo may konti lang sa practice at game na malilito ka, pero madali naman yung sistema ni coach Yeng. Hindi naman mahirap, nakakasabay naman," said Rosario.
Santos added that for him, it's just a matter of reviewing after previously being tasked to play at small forward in his last national team stint back in 2009.
"Naglalaro ako sa three kay coach Yeng noon. Kahit noong nasa national team ako, alam ko naman laruin yung three. Minsan nagiging complicated lang talaga dahil sa PBA, mas kailangan ako sa four. Pero ok din naman ako. Hindi naman ako nahihirapan," he said.
Taken out of their usual roles in their PBA ballclubs, Santos and Rosario are expected to be all over the floor in this stint with Team Pilipinas as Guiao seeks to see them be ready at all times to shoot the three on offense while also being a relentless wing defender on the other hand.
But they themselves root their confidence from the trust given to them by Guiao, especially with their eyes geared towards this next set of games, especially the Iran game where the two are touted to be matched up against versatile wingman Sammad Nikkhah Bahrami.
"Yung role namin ni kuya Arwind, hindi naman kami bibigyan ng role ni coach Yeng na di namin kakayanin. Hindi namin kailangan na mag-dribble ng matagal dahil pag open kami, may lisensya kami tumira," said Rosario.
Asked how they would rate themselves for this experiment, the two did give varying answers.
"Sa akin, five out of 10," answered the TNT forward. "Marami pang dapat ayusin, pero alam ko na sa depensa talaga ang importante. Hindi kakayanin ni kuya Gabe (Norwood) bantayan ang lahat kaya kailangan niya kami."
Santos, the former PBA MVP, meanwhile, gave a higher rating.
"Eight, kasi lucky number ko yun eh," Santos quipped. "Kung ang rating is one to 10, kahit paano naniniwala ako na kung sino ang matapat sa akin sa three, challenge sa akin yun para ma-stop ko sila talaga."