DON’T expect big man Rabeh Al-Hussaini to go somewhere else soon.
Challenged by rumors about the former Rookie of the Year being a head case, new Globalport coach Junel Baculi believes he can bring the best out of Al-Hussaini given the chance to handle and guide the young center.
“No, we’re sticking with him,” Baculi replied to Spin.ph when queried about the controversial player.
A troubled reputation has followed Al-Hussaini in the league since being selected No. 2 overall pick in the 2010 draft. In three seasons as a pro, the one-time UAAP MVP from Ateneo had bounced from one team to another, suiting up for Air21, Petron, and Powerade, the same frachise which Globalport later acquired.
But in the three weeks he’s been handling the Batang Pier in practice, Baculi sees otherwise.
“Nakikita ko hindi (ganun ka-worse si Rabeh) eh. Nakukuha ko naman yung kiliti niya,” Baculi said.
“Na-cha-challenge ako na hawakan siya. Sabi nila tamad daw. Sa akin, okay naman siya.”
Baculi however, did not respond when asked about rumors that Globalport is pursuing another big man in Talk `N Text’s Japeth Aguilar.
Both Al-Hussaini and Aguilar had been mentioned as part of a projected four-player deal that also included Kerby Raymundo and Jay-R Reyes, which failed to materialize last month.
“Tingin ko may magandang ibibigay sa amin si Rabs ngayong conference,” the coach stressed.
In light of this, Baculi also denied rumors about Gary David likewise being on the trading block, stressing the franchise will keep the services of the high-scoring guard.
“Yung core namin sa team with Rabeh will remain. Gary, Willie (Miller), Rey (Guevarra), and AJ (Mandani). Tingin ko there’s no way to go for us but up,” declared Baculi, who will have his hands full in the coming Commissioner’s Cup as he tries to revitalize the Batang Pier’s campaign following a woeful showing in their inaugural conference during the Philippine Cup.
But the Globalport mentor did admit the team is contemplating on trading away one of its wingmen for a future pick in the next few days.
Baculi did not reveal the identity of the player however, “so as not to demoralize him in practice.”