PLAYERS usually give words of encouragement to teammates who just had an off night.
But to an opponent? That’s doesn't happen every day.
On Saturday, Mike DiGregorio gave his support to Garvo Lanete after the latter received some strong words from NLEX coach Yeng Guiao following two botched plays in regulation of the team’s overtime loss to TNT last Friday.
As his interview with reporters on Saturday night following Blackwater’s win over GlobalPort was about to end, DiGregorio took the initiative to give a shout-out to Lanete.
“And one more thing, I saw an article about Garvo crying,” DiGregorio said. “We’re not close, but I just want to tell him to keep his head up, keep working hard because he’s a great player.”
“He’s here for a reason,” he added. “Everyone knows he’s a great player.”
The Filipino-Italian sophomore guard can relate to Lanete, recounting his high school coach was a firebrand like Guiao.
“When I was in high school, I had a coach that was like coach Yeng – very fiery, he would grab you by the shirt, get in your face, and yell at you, so I know that feeling,” DiGregorio said. “And to him (Garvo), just keep working hard because he’s a great player.”
While Lanete has yet to thrive in Guiao’s system, DiGregorio has been a fit since the Elite picked him up from the free-agent market from the offseason after Mahindra dropped him.
DiGregorio fired 18 points – two shy of his career high, three triples, along with three assists, and one board in the Elite’s first win of the conference on Saturday.
“I’m super comfortable,” DiGregorio beamed. “Man, I don’t want this to be taken the wrong way but I feel like I always had this. Even at Mahindra, if you look back at my early games with them, I make 19, 20, 14…. It was when I was put in a box as a shooter. I just stand in a corner, I just wait.”
“But I feel super comfortable here,” he added. “They let me make plays off the dribble. They make me work off the pick and rolls. I feel the freedom. Today, I knew I was starting and I wanted to come out aggressive and the coaching staff and the management has faith in this—I was just rewarding their faith.”