ASSISTANT coach Glenn Capacio is looking to kick Kia Motors' buildup into high gear next week as the Manny Pacquiao-led expansion team goes through the process of signing players for its debut season in the PBA.
Capacio, who is Pacquiao's chief assistant, admitted Kia's practices have yet to go full throttle as management has yet to decide who among the more than 20 players regularly showing up in its practices it will eventually sign for the PBA’s 40th season kicking off on October 19.
Because of the uncertainty, Capacio, a top defensive player during his playing career with Purefoods, said he can't push the players in practice as hard as he wanted to.
“Positive naman ang nakikita ko, maganda ang mga attitude ng players at maganda work ethic,” Capacio told Spin.ph shortly after Kia’s practice at the High Court inside the Unilab Compound in Pioneer, Mandaluyong.
"Ang medyo pino-problema namin is 'yung iba, di pa nakakapirma, so di pa namin tuluyan maayos yung ensayo."
So far, only three players are assured of slots at Kia - former Far Eastern University gunner Paul Sanga, rugged defender Alvin Padilla and former La Salle playmaker LA Revilla.
The 50-year-old coach actually echoed the sentiment of dispersal draft pick-up Jai Reyes, who has raised concerns over the uncertainty facing free agents in the Kia camp.
Still, Capacio is hopeful that the players’ contracts will be settled by next week as team manager Eric Pineda continues his negotiations with the players' agents.
“Meron na 'yan (negotiations). Ayaw ko lang muna sabihin, pero puwede nga hanggang 12 (players) na eh. Pero under negotiations pa. Siyempre, nagha-haggle pa sa price, like yung pag-usap ng agents at management, pero sana next week okay na,” he said.
Capacio, a former interim coach and chief assistant at GlobalPort, expects Kia to be a solid defensive unit under Pacquiao, who is expected to be the team’s first-round draft pick on August 24.
Once Kia’s 14-man roster is complete, Capacio said he will try to arrange an overseas tournament for the rookie team instead of tune-ups against fellow PBA teams.
“Kahit na anong ensayo namin, kung wala kaming tournament, paano namin mage-gauge ang sarili namin? So kinakausap ko ang management kung puwede maglaro abroad," Capacio said.
"Eh kasi kung tuneups dito, baka di kami labanan ng PBA teams,” he added. “Siyempre, ano ang makukuha nila sa amin? So kung pwuede sa abroad, may makuha kami, kahit mga pocket tournaments na one week, okay na 'yun.”