STAR coach Jason Webb is requesting his backcourt to make a sacrifice as it makes room for a rising star in RR Garcia.
The Hotshots acquired Garcia in a three-team trade along with Keith Jensen and Rodney Brondial, joining a point guard rotation that already has Mark Barroca, Alex Mallari and Justin Melton.
“I wouldn’t call it a surplus, but I would say that some of our guards would have to sacrifice some minutes to give opportunity to everyone,” Webb said over the phone on Thursday.
That could hamper the development of Garcia, who is in the middle of a breakout season, having averaged 17.5 points, three assists, 2.8 rebounds, and .7 steal in 32.2 minutes in 19 games for Barako Bull/Phoenix in the first two conferences.
But Webb is hardly worried, saying his backcourt players must make the most of their time on the court.
“Maganda rin yung dahil what we’re going to ask from them really is kung ilang minutes na maglalaro ka, buhos na kaagad,” the rookie mentor said as Garcia teams up with a fellow Far Eastern University product in Barroca.
While the 26-year-old Garcia was the centerpiece of the trade, Webb also underlined the importance of nabbing Jensen and Brondial.
Webb believes the 6-foot-4 Jensen can be the team’s import-stopper for the Governors’ Cup that allows most team to have imports standing 6-5.
“It was really good timing for us to get Keith right now because we felt that it would be beneficial for us to get an import stopper na six-five,” Webb said. “Itong conference na ‘to, wala kaming ganung player eh, so that helps us a lot.”
Brondial, on the other hand, provides quality minutes in the possible absence of Gilas pool member Marc Pingris early in the season-ending conferene.
“Rodney, with the import-laden conference, he’s going to have to again fight for those minutes, but if Ping gets picked dun sa Gilas, usually first couple of games (of the conference), parang ang hirap hingan ng laro yung mga nag-Gilas dahil pagod pa sila eh, so he might have that opportunity as well.”
“And I’m hoping our veterans are able to impart kay Rodney yung Star way of really being aggressive,” he added.
The Hotshots lost Mark Cruz, Ronald Pascual, Yousef Taha, and Norbert Torres in the trade.
“Very painful na mahiwalay sa amin yung mga players na kasama sa amin, but this was an opportunity that presented itself na tingin naman namin, makakaganda sa team,” Webb said.
Webb said the long PBA break between its second and third conferences of the year - stretched by Gilas' stint in the Olympic qualifiers in Manila - made the timing perfect to do a deal.
“Itong break na ‘to, you almost feel this is the offseason kasi yung third (conference) to first, ang bilis eh,” he added. “If there was any more you’d be interested to do and you’d want to inculcate any of your guys and you have enough time do it, this is probably the best time in between these two conferences because of the Gilas break.”
Webb said the Hotshots report back to practice on June 2.