MACAU – Defense is the biggest reason why Mac Tallo has blended in easily with NLEX.
Signed late last conference, the 10th pick in the 2017 PBA Draft is proving to his new team that just like he was in Southwestern University, he is a keeper.
“Every time na naglalaro ako, ang mindset ko lang is to play defense,” he said. “Primary objective ko is to play defense kasi doon ko gine-gain ang kumpyansa ko eh. If I play bad on defense, most likely, yung offense ko, papangit na rin. Yun ang binibigay ko sa team na ito kaya nakaka-blend din ako ng maayos.”
After a pedestrian first game for the Road Warriors, the Cebuano playmaker made the most of his chances and poured 13 points, five rebounds and three assists in the team’s 75-60 loss to Korea’s ETLand Elephants on Wednesday.
As much as the defeat hurt NLEX’s chances of advancing to the semifinals of Asia League Super 8, Tallo knows that the bigger purpose of this tournament is to better incorporate new guys like him to the system of the team, as well as fostering a stronger camaraderie.
“Sobrang laking tulong nito, especially for me, kasi ito na yung time na makakasabay ako sa mga nauna sa akin sa NLEX. For a new guy, makaka-adjust ako sa tulong ng opportunity na binibigay dito,” he said.
“Ngayon, we’re still adjusting. Di pa nakakalaro yung import, pero as much as possible, tina-try namin mga locals na mag-blend lahat. Sinusubukan naming maging iisa kami para pagdating ng import, yung import na lang ang maga-adjust sa amin this upcoming conference. Ok naman kami eh.”
But the Road Warriors need to act quick, as they have a great of a mountain to climb when it takes on the undefeated Xinjiang Flying Tigers (2-0) on Thursday with their semifinal chances hanging in the balance.
Tallo, though, is optimistic that the team will be able to compete mano-a-mano no matter how mighty NLEX’s foe is.
“Pupunta kami dito with the mindset na manalo. Defense lang naman kulang namin eh. Kung maganda ang defense namin, most likely, mananalo kami. Ganun pa rin mindset namin defensively laban sa kanila,” he said.