WAS it mere coincidence that Mike Digregorio and Allein Maliksi had good shooting nights in Blackwater's first game since PBA great William ‘Bogs’ Adornado was designated as the Elite's shooting coach?
Even the three-time MVP and Hall of Famer, considered one of the finest shooters Philippine basketball ever had, couldn’t say for sure.
“Well, hindi ko alam. This is just my first game,” he said when asked if Digregorio and Maliksi’s offensive explosion in the Elite’s first win in the Philippine Cup, had something to do with his new role with the franchise.
Di Gregorio fired 27 points and Maliksi added 23 as the duo spearheaded the Elite’s 111-99 demolition of Rain or Shine on Wednesday night at the Astrodome.
Digregorio shot 7-of-10 from three-point range and made 66 percent of his field goals, while Maliksi 2-of-4 from beyond the arc and shot 47 percent from the floor.
The 67-year-old former Crispa great and seven-time Mythical First Team member doesn’t take credit for the splendid work done by the duo and instead, lauded Digregorio and Maliksi for being good shooters.
But he added things have only just began as the two and the rest of the Elite now have to maintain their shooting consistency.
“They know the fundamental of shooting, but I said, they have to be consistent,” said Adornado, known for his trademark head and shoulder fake. “You have to be consistent, yun ang hinahabol ko, eh.”
Adornado, who also suited up for U-Tex, Great Taste, Shell, and Hills Bros., was a late addition to the team’s coaching staff headed by Bong Ramos, another great shooter during his heydays. He serves as the Elite’s shooting coach which doesn’t only focus on the perimeter players, but among the big men as well.
“I personalize (teaching them). I used two, three players to concentrate on, but I have drills for everybody. Last 30 minutes to one hour, we have skill practices before the main practice,” Adornado said of his routine work.
Blackwater getting Adornado, who holds the distinction as the first back-to-back MVP awardee in the league (1975 and 76), on board just came by chance.
It happened that the Elite practiced in the same gym where Adornado works out. And upon seeing the current roster of the team, the native of Batad, Iloilo admitted seeing a lot of promise in them.
“I saw the lineup, most of them are young players. So I got interested,” he said. “At tsaka I have free time now. So sabi ko I want to join this team because of that reason. When I retired from basketball, ang plano ko talaga is to be able to share my expertise and experience especially to the young players.”
So far, so good as the five-time league scoring champion who led the PBA in scoring, free-throws made, two-point field goals, and minutes played in 1981, has been impressed with the attitude of Blackwater’s young core of players.
“The players are very cooperative. They respond every day. Although three or four times pa lang ako nag-join sa kanila sa practice, I’m happy with their attitude,” said Adornado, who once made 69 consecutive free throws from 1986 to 87. “I know they’re going to improve because of their attitude. Passable (sila) on having a good attitude.”
But as pointed out earlier, consistency will be the key.
“Sad to say, most of the PBA players now are very inconsistent. I don’t know if you agree with me as the way you look at it. Scoring-wise, defense-wise. That’s why most of the team are on and off because of lack of consistency,” said Adornado, whose single-game high was 64 points which he made in a 126-111 win by U-Tex over San Miguel on Nov. 23, 1980.
“If you’re a good player, you have to be consistent the entire season.”