FOLLOWING Barako Bull’s crucial loss to Rain or Shine, Rajko Toroman admitted they made a mistake in replacing the hardworking Evan Brock with an out-of-shape DJ Mbenga.
Emerging from the dugout after a long talk with team manager Raffy Casyao, Toroman said the decision to bring in Mbenga was based on the premise that the former LA Lakers backup center could easily provide an inside presence and solid rebounding for the Energy Cola.
Sadly, Mbenga has turned out to be just a shell of his old self in the two games he has played with the George Chua-owned franchise so far.
“It was a decision based on the game against Ginebra. We were outrebounded by 26 because their import (Vernon Macklin) had more offensive rebounds than the team,” explained Toroman.
“So we thought with one seven-footer, we could do something more. But of course, because of his (knee) injury and his (failure to be in game) shape, we didn’t make a great decision.
"But you know, we did that (change Brock) because we were thinking (Mbenga) could help us,” he added.
Mbenga played poorly in his debut against Petron and fared even worse against Rain or Shine, scoring just nine points and grabbing seven rebounds in only 23 minutes of play on Friday as Barako Bull went down, 97-106.
In contrast, Brock wasn't fantastic but was pretty consistent in 11 games with the Energy Cola, averaging 21.1 points, 16 rebounds, 2.3 assists and 1.6 blocks in 40.8 minutes of play.
At 4-9 (win-loss), Barako Bull’s quarterfinal hopes now hinge on Air21’s (5-8) performance on Saturday in its final elimination round game against Petron, where the Express need only a win to eliminate the Energy Cola and make the Last Eight.