THE PBA Governors Cup is still a good two months away, and yet coach Junel Baculi is already whipping his Globalport team into tip-top condition this early with the help of college teams.
The Globalport coach wants his team to return to basics in his bid to salvage what has so far been a nightmare first season in the PBA, and the first step is arranging tune-up games with college teams.
Baculi hopes the Batang Pier can learn a thing or two from varsity teams, primarily the energy they bring to every game.
“We just want to go back to the basics that’s why we’ve arranged playing against college teams,” Baculi told Spin.ph. “We want the energy of college teams and somehow, if we have energy guys coming off the bench, malaking bagay yun para sa team.”
Baculi liked what he saw when the Batang Pier pounded La Salle, 76-58, over the weekend, despite playing without superstar Gary David, Sol Mercado, and newly-acquired big men Jay Washington and Yousif Taha.
The 6-foot-2 David is currently training with Gilas Pilipinas in Lithuania, while Mercado, Washington, and Taha are still on vacation in the United States.
Baculi, who is also athletic director of National University, said they are arranging more tune-up matches with college schools in the next couple of weeks as they continue their conditioning phase.
Team manager BJ Manalo said they expect Mercado, Washington, and Taha to join them this week so they could start working on team chemistry after the trades that saw Globalport part with big men Japeth Aguilar and Jason Deutchman.
“We need every practice so we can do it altogether, especially without Gary na nasa Fiba-Asia. We need everyone in the team sa conditioning phase namin,” Manalo said.
The Batang Pier were dead last during the first two conferences of their maiden season, going 1-13 in the Philippine Cup and 2-12 in the Commissioner’s Cup.
In a bid to boost its stock this early in preparation for the season-ending conference, team management pulled off a major transaction by trading Aguilar to Barangay Ginebra in exchange for Taha and a 2013 first round pick.
The Batang Pier then unloaded rookie big man Jason Deutchman to Petron for Washington and the Boosters’ 2016 and 2017 second round picks, respectively.