IT may only be a tune-up game, but for Kia Motors beating Barangay Ginebra over the weekend will definitely come a long way as it plays its maiden season in the PBA beginning this October.
The Sorento eked out a 73-71 win over the Kings during their exhibition match at the CCF gym.
Assistant coach Glen Capacio, who called the shots for the team in the absence of playing coach Manny Pacquiao, admitted the victory serves as a big morale booster to the expansion franchise.
“Tuwang-tuwa nga eh akala mo nag-champion na eh,” said a beaming Capacio after the game.
“Pero malaking tulong itong panalo, especially sa mental aspect namin, kasi ine-expect nila (Kia players) wala ngang pangalan, pero ngayon naramdaman nila kaya nila mag-compete with the big boys,” he explained.
Capacio said he never expected his team to beat Ginebra, which had veteran stars Mark Caguioa and Jayjay Helterbrand, new boy Joseph Yeo, Greg Slaughter, and Chris Ellis playing in their first preseason match.
“For a start, coming to the gym, ine-expect ko nga mabo-blowout kami ng 20 or 30 points. Eh di ko akalain na manalo pa,” he added.
Pacquiao is currently in New York City for the press tour of his coming World Boxing Organization (WBO) welterweight title match against Chris Algeiri.
But he was immediately notified about the win shortly after the game.
Kia rode on the energetic plays of comebacking PBA forward Reil Cervantes and sophomore guard LA Revilla to complete the reversal.
Cervantes, an undersized 6-4 forward led Kia with 17 points, while Revilla added 15.
Capacio said the team intends to get as many tune-up matches as possible in order to get used to the brand of play in the pro league since majority of his players have limited experience of playing in the level of PBA.
“Pare-parehas lang naman silang mga players, kaya sabi ko sipagan niyo lang. Ipakita lang `yung energy para maka-compete tayo kasi kung petiks petiks tayo, wala pang talent, eh walang mangyayari sa atin,” he added.