AS much as he wants to avoid putting pressure on Markeith Cummings, Kia coach Chris Gavina is asking his import to somehow be the 'Man of Steel' for his team to have a better chance to get its first win in the PBA Governors’ Cup.
The Picanto reinforcement submitted a second straight sub-par showing on Sunday night, contributing 20 points – half of it coming in garbage time in the fourth quarter – along with seven boards, and two assists, against four turnovers in 36 minutes.
And Gavina is demanding more from Cummings to breathe life into a young team that requires extraordinary numbers from its import to at least compete in the league.
“He’s coming in with a group of young players who don’t know how to get the job done right now, but I told him, ‘You unfortunately have the ‘Superman stigma’ where our locals are looking at you to be Superman and kind of carry us on your shoulders,’” Gavina said.
“And every import really has that,” he added. “Bill Walker today carried Blackwater to their first win, and so as much as I want to say that I’m not happy about his production, slipping off, I think he’s more than capable of putting up big numbers.”
Gavina believes Cummings “is just getting in the way of his own success right now.”
“He’s just overanalyzing things he can’t control, so I told him, 'Let’s watch video and see where he can get easier baskets,'” Gavina said. “I told him, ‘You can easily get to the free-throw line twelve or fifteen times if you wanted to.’ He’s just going to have to put his mind into it, so we’ll go back to the drawing board and see how we can maximize Markeith.”
Unlike in the aftermath of a loss two days earlier, there were no two-hour meetings this time as Gavina took the milder approach and gave his wards a two-day break.
“I’m not even putting too much pressure on them. I was probably my most mild mannered today than I’ve been the last four games,” he added.
“The thing is, our young guys just got to get through these rough times and learn what it takes to win,” Gavina said. “Everyone’s so scared of making mistakes, of losing, and getting blamed. I told guys, ‘Look, we’ll take two days off, clear your heads, and get back to just enjoying what we’re doing out there.’