IT took a mouthful from no less than Air21 coach Franz Pumaren for import Herve Lamizana to finally unleash his game.
Surprised at how physical the game was when he finally made his PBA debut on Wednesday night, the 6-foot-9 Lamizana admitted having started on the wrong foot as he struggled in the first 24 minutes of the Express’ Commissioner’s Cup game against Globalport.
But that was until Pumaren got into him at halftime and reminded him that as import, he should be dominating the game.
That was the cue Lamizana was waiting for.
The Air21 import responded by playing with a greater sense of urgency, firing 20 of his 22 points in the second half to go with 10 rebounds and five block shots in the Express’ 83-78 win.
“It was tough, especially the first half. I had to get used to the bump and fouling, but we were warned already by the (PBA) commissioner to get used to it,” shared the 33-year-old reed-thin import.
“But once I get to the groove, I get going. My main thing was to help the team to win.”
Pumaren disclosed Lamizana is still not in game shape just two weeks after flying over to the country.
The Ivorian big man is actually coming off a stint with the Sichuan Blue Whales before joining the Express.
But Lamizana insists he’s already getting into shape, and with a few more games under his belt, he’ll be able to play the usual game he’s known for.
“I’m finally getting to game shape. I’m gonna get better. I just look a bit winded at the end of the game and coach was kind of worried,” he said.
“But I’m used to getting to play every game. It’s just a matter of a couple more games and I should be good.”
Air21 returns to action on Saturday when it clashes with Talk ‘N Text bannered by NBA D-League veteran Richard Howell.