DAVAO – Mark Barroca felt the Mindanao All-Stars just caught Gilas Pilipinas rusty, leading to the stunning 144-130 blowout victory in the first leg of the PBA All-Star week in Digos City.
Facing a taller national team that has just started preparations for the third round of the World Cup qualifiers at the end of next month, the Mindanao selection turned to pull away behind a big salvo early in the payoff period.
“Di naman namin inasahan na tambakan namin sila,” Barroca insisted. “Ang sa amin lang is maglaro ng…kasi sabi ni coach kanina ‘di man kami manalo basta ibigay lang nami best namin kasi pag lumabas ka dito win or lose, pag binigay mo best mo, masaya ka.”
“Kesa pag di mo binigay best mo manghihinayang ka pagkatapos ng laro,” he added.
By bringing their A-game, the Mindanao natives gave the Smart All-Stars national team a worthy challenge that will wake them up for the second leg on Friday in Batangas.
“Yung Gilas, dun na naman yun eh. Kumpyansa lang sila. Di namin matatalo yun eh, lakas lakas nun eh,” Barroca insisted. “First game lang nila yun eh so parang... tignan mo sa next mag-iiba yan kasi ayaw namin nila patalo ng tatlong games, ‘di ba?”
“So parang gising na sila dun kasi kami sineryoso namin sila eh. Siguro di nila kami sineryoso kaya nanalo kami,” the former national team member added.
Barroca led the starting unit with 20 points, highlighted by four treys, seven assists, six rebounds, and three steals in almost 32 minutes, conspiring with All-Star game MVP Baser Amer to lead their fast-paced attack.
Reuniting with former Purefoods coach Tim Cone must’ve done wonders for Barroca.
“Sinasabi niya lang sa amin na everytime maglalaro kami, kahit ‘di kami magkakasama, pero sinasabi nya sa amin na dapat manalo talaga,” Barroca said. “Laging manalo, kasi yun yung nageenjoy ka. Kasi pag natatalo ka di ka nag-eenjoy eh.”
“So yun nag-motivate sa Akin kanina,” the veteran Magnolia playmaker concluded.