CHRIS Daniels admitted he took his replacement as import as a motivation to work even harder, earning him a chance of a return with Alaska in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup.
Daniels said he stayed in the Philippines as he continued to put in the work despite being replaced by Nino Johnson two games ago, despite nursing a minor leg injury.
That allowed the 35-year-old Daniels to lose 10 pounds on his way to getting that spot back with the Aces.
“Just have to be professional about it, man,” said Daniels. “Things happen in basketball and you just have to roll with the punches. If you fight the wave, you are going to get drowned. You’ve got to roll with it.”
“I stayed here and worked my ass off in the weight room. Dropped about 10 pounds, some more muscle in my leg. Hopefully, it showed. I hope that I was moving better,” said Daniels.
Based on the statistics, Daniels did move better as he had 23 points and 22 rebounds as he battled San Miguel import Charles Rhodes in the match.
“Always,” said Daniels, when asked if being replaced was a motivation. “I just have to stay professional, man. Things happen.
Alaska coach Alex Compton said getting Daniels back to replace the ineffective Nino Johnson was a no-brainer as he lauded the professionalism of his import.
“Nino Johnson wasn’t anywhere close to be in shape,” Compton said. “Sometimes, with the import, the risk is what you see on video is what you hope you get and what you heard from people is what you think you can get. Nino wasn’t in shape and we didn’t have to get him the ways to go. He had six points and four rebounds because he really can’t move. That was tough. That was an easy choice.”
“Something crazy would have to happen for me to say something bad about that guy,” said Compton, referring to Daniels. “He is a total pro.”
Daniels is saddened that his first game back didn’t lead to a victory, but he expressed confidence the Aces will be able to give reigning champion Barangay Ginebra a good fight next Sunday in their next match.
“It feels good to come back. Disappointed that we didn’t get the win. But we just have to stay focused and be locked for the next game,” said Daniels.
“Moving forward, I hope we learn from our lessons. We are going to learn from what we did wrong. We are going to get back to practice and fix it,” he added.