FORMER cage great Alvin Patrimonio believes the struggles that San Mig Super Coffee has been going through will only make the team better as it tries to weather the storm halfway through the PLDT myDSL-PBA Philippine Cup eliminations.
“Ganyan lang talaga para mag-mature ang team, `yung dumadaan sa struggles,” said the Mixers team manager during the team’s practice at the Ronac gym in San Juan on Wednesday.
“Eh na-timing pa siguro na ang daming injuries nung mag-start ang season. Pero again, di naman namin ginagawang excuse yun. Kasi ang positive side, di naman grabe ang mga injuries nila.”
The 47-year-old Patrimonio, one of only two players to win the league MVP plum four times, said his 17-year pro career was similarly marked with ups and downs, but insisted it was during the lowest times that he learned to be strong, enabling him to lead the franchise then known as Purefoods to five championships.
San Mig found itself in a bind at the start of the All-Filipino tournament as the team was left without Fil-Am forward Joe Devance (patellar tendinitis) and guard Peter June Simon (tendinitis on Achilles), before eventually losing rookie guard Justin Melton shortly after his league debut with a fractured ring finger.
Superstar James Yap also missed two games in the tournament due to an inflamed right elbow and has actually been playing through the pain pain since.
But Patrimonio felt the trying moments should be a perfect opportunity for everyone, from starters, role players, and even rookies, to prove themselves and play harder as the team tries to get over the hump.
“Nakikita ko naman na ang mga players namin, kailangan lang magtulungan. Importante lang naman eh ma-treasure nila `yung time tuwing ginagamit sila ni coach (Tim Cone). Na kailangan, kapag pinapasok sila, ready sila for war,” Patrimonio, voted one of the 25 PBA Greatest Players, said.
The San Mig team manager said he liked what he saw on Tuesday when the Mixers overhauled a nine-point second-half deficit to pull off a 90-88 win over Barako Bull and snap a two-game slump.
The win tied the Mixers with their victims in ninth place on similar 2-5 (win-loss) slate.
“Naniniwala ako makaka-bounce back pa rin naman sila (Mixers). Actually ganun ang naging attitude nila kagabi (Tuesday). Na-challenge sila. Lumaban lang talaga sila lalo na sa fourth quarter,” said Patrimonio.