BARAKO Bull’s coaching staff came to the defense of import Mike Singletary in the wake of his disappearing act in the PBA Governors Cup playoffs on Wednesday night.
Coach Bong Ramos said the American was due for a "bad game" after the Energy Cola's campaign in the quarterfinals proved short-lived following an 86-68 loss to the Meralco Bolts at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.
Ramos reminded everyone who cared to listen how Singletary had carried the team for most of the eliminations, resulting in Barako Bull’s first quarterfinal appearance for the season.
“Maganda and depensa nila (Bolts’ defense on Singletary). But I don’t want to blame him (Singletary) kasi from the start (of the conference), he was doing everything for us,” said Ramos, who worked hand in hand with active team consultant Rajko Toroman the past two conferences in calling the shots for the Energy Cola.
“Dinala niya kami sa quarters at sa pinakita niyang effort, hard work niya, coachable siya. Even sa practice, he’s doing everything. He deserves to have a bad game. I give my respect to him,” he added.
Singletary, who turned 25 last week, had a quiet nine points on a paltry 2-of-10 shooting from the field against the Bolts - the only single-digit output of the tournament for the leading Best Import candidate.
Prior to the quarterfinal game, he averaged 36.0 points for the team.
The anemic 45-minute stint of the 6-foot-5 Singletary drew only a short comment from Toroman, who’s been responsible for crafting the team’s game plan since he joined the franchise early this year.
“I don’t know (about Singletary’s poor performance). He was the best player until today (Wednesday),” said the Serbian coach.
Overall, Ramos said he was still happy with the team’s performance, calling it a “decent showing.”
Ramos explained the Energy Cola had to work with a depleted backcourt, owing to injuries suffered by Jonas Villanueva (torn meniscus) and Eman Monfort (broken right ring finger) this conference.
The 5-foot-7 Monfort actually played eight games in the eliminations, averaging 10.7 points, 2.6 rebounds, and 4.6 assists before suffering the injury in Barako Bull’s 77-81 loss to San Mig Coffee on September 14.
Without Villanueva and Monfort, the team had to rely on seldom-used Shawn Weinstein and 36-year-old Celino Cruz to do the playmaking chores in the team’s last two games.