THE entry of gunner Joseph Yeo in the talent-laden Barangay Ginebra roster readily bumped off high-flying swingman Chris Ellis in the Kings’ regular rotation in the PBA Philippine Cup.
But the 6-foot-4 Ellis doesn’t’ mind the reduced playing time this season so long as the team achieves its long goal of ending the franchise’s six-year title drought.
“It really comes down to what coach tells us,” Ellis told Spin.ph just before Ginebra’s game against Globalport on Sunday.
“It’s just a matter of understanding and practicing the spacing and timing.”
The product of Mary Liarden Baylor is averaging career-low numbers of 7.2 points, 2.2 rebounds, and 1.0 assist in just 15.5 minutes of play.
His best scoring output was a 19-point production in Ginebra’s stunning 81-97 loss to NLEX.
But since then, the 25-year-old former league Slamdunk champion saw his average drop to just 4.6 points in just 13.4 minutes.
Ellis, however, sees the decreased in playing time as a challenge to get better and just be ready should coach Jeff Cariaso call his number.
“Honestly, every player would tell you they would want to be there in the game, but I’ll try to be prepared and be ready,” said Ellis.
“When coach Jeff came (to coach the team in last season’s Governors Cup), we had some individual talks. He told me that he won’t be looking for me to score because we got great scorers in the team like
Jayjay Helterbrand and Mark Caguioa and we’ve got our big men too,” he added.
The athletic Ginebra guard/forward said his reduced scoring gave him the opportunity to get better and contribute on the defensive end.
“Defense will always be there, maybe, it’s just a matter of choosing the best option that you have (in the triangle),” explained Ellis, who turns 26 next month.
With a solid roster that include giants Greg Slaughter, Japeth Aguilar, and Billy Mamaril at the front court, the wingmen that include Yeo and Mac Baracael, as well as guards led by Caguioa, LA Tenorio, and Helterbrand, Ellis feels blessed to be playing with a talent-laden Ginebra core.
“I’m just really grateful to be with this team because everybody works really hard, everybody’s focused,” he said.