STILL without sleep, Petron's new import Elijah Millsap showed up for his first practice and readily impressed the team, not just for his skills but for his attitude.
Arriving in the country early Saturday, the younger brother of former Utah Jazz and now Atlanta Hawks forward Paul Millsap headed to Petron’s 9 a.m. practice at the Acropolis Gym in Quezon City.
“Malakas ang katawan niya saka powerful agad ang atake niya kahit alam namin na wala pa siyang tulog,” said Petron star Arwind Santos, the man tasked to guard Millsap in the five-on-five drills.
Coach Gee Abanilla had intended to give the import a walk-through to give him a feel of the team's system, which the 25-year-old former University of Alabama standout instantly adapted to.
“Masaya siya sa team at play namin. Kumportable agad siya. Gusto nga niya eh,” added Santos.
But more than Millsap's skills, it is the new import's attitude that has brought joy to a Petron team that has been traumatized by its misadventure with the banned Renaldo Balkman in the last Commissioner's Cup.
“Tahimik lang siya. Walang yabang. Hindi tulad nung ibang import mag da-dunk nang mag-da-dunk… Hindi siya showy,” said Santos, who was involved in the choking incident that led to Balkman's ban.
Petron guard Denok Miranda said Millsap quickly developed rapport with the other players.
“Ang galling niya makisama. Yun ang importante sa import eh, yung nakikibagay agad. Hindi nga kami agad nailang sa kanya kasi very approachable siya,” said Miranda.
Miranda expressed confidence Millsap will be different from Balkman.
"Tahimik ito. Walang hangin,” Miranda shared his first impression of Millsap. "Saka kahit simple pa lang yung nilaro niya, alam ko may ibubuga pa yun. Pinapanood ko kasi siya sa summer league at alam ko ang kakayahan niya.”