GARY David will be Ryan Gregorio’s new James Yap.
Meralco Bolts team consultant Jong Uichico believes that the acquisition of the high-scoring guard from Globalport will give Gregorio the kind of player he has always wanted - a legitimate scoring threat much like Yap was for him during his successful run at Purefoods.
“Most likely (he is this team’s James Yap)… because Gary David is the style of player coach Ryan wants,” Uichico said. “He is a good fit to the team.”
“Gary is a type of player who can initiate his own shot. He can be a go-to guy during crunch time and he is also a very good one-on-one player,” added the incoming Sinag Pilipinas coach.
[For full story on trade, see 'El Granada' David sent by Globalport to Meralco in four-player deal]
Gregorio, who won a couple of championships with Purefoods but is still in search of his first one at Meralco, said he is banking on David's proven scoring and leadership to get Meralco to the next level after a maiden semifinal appearance in the last PBA Governors' Cup.
"Gary gives us a legitimate scoring threat. He is great in transition, solid off-screen and he can manufacture his own points. His leadership can also help us in our desire to finish better than No. 3 in the next conference," said the Meralco Bolts coach.
Gregorio also shrugged off fears that the 35-year-old David may be past his prime.
"Despite his age, he has proven time and again that he has a lot of good years ahead of him," said Gregorio, who was an assistant to coach Chot Reyes in the Gilas Pilipinas team where David is a mainstay.
Uichico declared that the David trade, which also saw AJ Mandani move to Meralco for Chris Ross, Chris Timberlake and two second picks, has long been planned.
“It’s a consensus decision that we think the trade will be good for the team… so we went after it,” he added.
Asked to comment on how they plan to spread minutes among their battery of gunners, which also has Mark Cardona, Mike Cortez, Sunday Salvacion and John Wilson, Uichico made a safe reply.
“We’ll see muna. Binubuo din namin yung team eh. We’re still improving little by little,” said the former PBA champion coach with 8 championships.
“We’re trying to fill the spots we need to fill. We’re getting competitive but how fast can we improve in terms of team composition … that’s for all of us to see,” said Uichico with a smile.