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    Former Cone disciples Villanueva, Urbiztondo thrive in Toroman's system

    Feb 20, 2013

    FROM the complex triangle offense to the taxing Euro-style basketball.

    Such is the adjustment both Josh Urbiztondo and Jonas Villanueva had to make after they found themselves reunited at Barako Bull under former national coach Rajko Toroman from San Mig Coffee.               

    Despite losing a close game against the Alaska Aces, 73-77, in the battle of unbeaten teams of the PBA Commissioner’s Cup, both Villanueva and Urbiztondo have slowly but surely becoming comfortable with the motion-type offense initiated by the Serbian mentor.

    Never mind that other teams too, have likewise began to decipher Toroman’s system that relies a lot on ball movement and perimeter shooting.

    “May konting adjustment kami sa play kasi nagiging predictable kami at times,” Villanueva said. “Puwede naman kami umatake sa opensa, pero gusto rin lang kasi ni coach Rajko na gamitin `yung oras to get the best possible shot.”

    But it can't be denied both guards – acquired in a separate deals with San Mig this season - are thriving so far under the former Smart Gilas-Pilipinas mentor after parting with Tim Cone and his triangle offense.

    The 6-foot-1 Urbiztondo is averaging career-bests in scoring (18.6 points) and rebounds (5.6 boards), while adding 3.6 assists in 41.3 minutes in three games this conference.

    Villanueva on the other hand, has posted averages of 14.6 points, 2.6 rebounds and five assists in 30.3 minutes.

    Urbiztondo said he appreciates Toroman’s rigid approach both to training and games, which actually pushes the entire Energy Cola to be in top shape and be prepared every game.

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    Three games into the mid-season conference, the Energy Cola are surprisingly in the upper bracket of the team standings, just a half game behind the still undefeated Aces.

    But Villanueva and Urbiztondo admitted the Energy Cola still have a long way to go as far as achieving the team’s ultimate goal of winning the championship is concerned.

    “That was just our first loss against Alaska (on Sunday). But again, 10 teams in the PBA. And the PBA really is all about adjustments.  Everyone’s scouting more and more, which is why we also need to make adjustments and keep improving,” Urbiztondo shared to

    Barako Bull tries to bounce back from that loss on Friday when it clashes with Air21 in the first game of a double-header at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City.

    “We have a lot of guys with great attitude. But again, we’re not contented with where we are at, even though we are achieving some success early this conference,” explained Urbiztondo, who is turning 30 late this month.

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