ONLY four games into the new PBA season with his new team Globalport and yet Kelly Nabong feels like he was born again.
The Fil-Am big man is grateful for the new lease on life he has gotten with the Batang Pier, where he has been churning out double-double numbers and is part of coach Pido Jarencio’s starting unit in the ongoing PBA Philippine Cup.
“My confidence is flourishing right now,” said Nabong moments after Globalport notched a second straight win Friday following a 101-76 thrashing of Blackwater at the Astrodome.
“I’ve always had my confidence. It’s just had to be in the right situation, with the right team, and with the right coach.”
Just three months ago, it was the exact opposite for Nabong who found himself without a team after a shouting match with then Meralco assistant coach Jimmy Alapag led to his banishment from the franchise.
He didn’t really find a new home until Globalport decided to gamble on him and signed him just weeks before the league’s 43rd season began.
Now he’s trying to reward the fate given him by the Batang Pier by submitting double-double averages of 11.3 points and 13.0 rebounds prior to the team’s 25-point blowout of the Elite.
But Nabong made it clear emotions have nothing to do with the way he has been playing for Globalport now compared to Meralco before.
It just so happened he fits the free-flowing system of Jarencio with the Batang Pier.
“It’s two totally different systems. Globalport is more of a free-flowing offense, and not a lot of restrictions,” he pointed out. “Coach Pido gives us all a lot of confidence. If you’re open, shoot it.”
The young, running roster Jarencio assembled is also to Nabong’s liking.
“When I came to Globalport, I saw we got a lot of young guys, we got a lot of guys who like to run, to push the ball,” said the 29-year-old Fil-Am from Sacramento, California.
“That’s pretty much where I find myself in, to get the rebound, quick outlets, and push the ball. Make extra pass, hit open guys, and just run, takbo, takbo.”
Of course, it’s not only the system and his teammates which Nabong has begun to embrace. His well-loved coach, too.
“I love coach Pido. I love him. We’re like twins, kalbo,” said the 6-foot-6 Nabong, a second round pick (17th overall) by Rain or Shine in the 2012 draft.