BARANGAY Ginebra import Herbert Hill is slowly proving his critics wrong.
Newly-appointed head coach Alfrancis Chua said he has seen steady improvement from Hill barely a week since the soft-spoken import joined the Kings in practice.
“Ang laki ng improvement niya, everyday may mga bagong maganda akong nakikita,” Chua shares to Spin.ph, while noting he never fails giving Hill extra assignments after every practice.
Hill is coming off a long layoff, having played his last high-level basketball tournament in April of last year yet.
But to the import’s credit, Chua said Hill has been working diligently to get back into game shape.
“Araw-araw ko siya pinapatakbo, ginagawa naman niya. Extra-shooting, okay siya,” said the ponytailed coach.
The way Hill has been doing his thing in practice so far, Chua is confident his import will be in top condition when PBA Commissioner’s Cup kicks off on February 8.
Even Ginebra star LA Tenorio expressed satisfaction with how Hill has been progressing in practice every day.
“Medyo nakukuha na niya yung kundisyon niya. And masipag siya mag-extra workout, talagang nakikita mo na gusto niyang magpa-kundisyon,” said Tenorio.
Even before Hill came over, however, it was his free-throw shooting - or more precisely his supposed inability to make them on a consistent basis - that has aroused interest and concern among fans.
The good thing is, the fans may be worried but the Gin Kings themselves aren't - or at least that's what they're saying.
Sophomore Allein Maliksi, in fact, said Hill led his team to a win in a friendly bet over a free throw-shooting contest that had Maliksi's group buying lunch when the team travelled to Bataan to attend the wake of Kerby Raymundo's dad.
“Mataas ang shooting percentage, ang dalas maka-9-out-of-10. Tinalo nga nila kami eh. Kami tuloy nagpa-meryenda nung pumunta kami sa Bataan,” said Maliksi.
Teammate Elmer Espiritu said: “Consistent siya sa free throw last week kaso nag-weights kami nung Monday kaya kanina marami siyang mintis."
But don't take the players' word for it. Check out this video, which showed two sides of the import: Hill swishing free throws before teammates, and Hill going just 1-of-5 in the presence of Chua.
Meanwhile, Hill will get his first real test in his buildup when Ginebra faces the ABL's San Miguel Beermen, led by import Brian Williams and Asi Taulava and Eric Menk, in a tune-up game Friday at the Ronac gym from 1-3 p.m.
“Dyan namin siya masusukat kung ano talaga ang kakayahan niya kasi malalaki rin `yung San Miguel,” said Tenorio.
The PBA’s acknowledged crowd favorite will also play Barako Bull Energy Cola on Tuesday and Air 21 Express on Saturday.