DJ Mbenga, winner of an NBA championship with the Los Angeles Lakers, got a taste of the Philippine brand of basketball for the first time and came out surprised by its physicality.
For the big man who has played in the NBA for eight years and has suited up for the Lakers, Dallas Mavericks, New Orleans Hornets and the Golden State Warriors, playing against Filipinos felt like a wrestling match.
"It's like wrestling in basketball," he said. "But you do whatever it takes to win."
Mbenga had a double double, recording team highs in scoring and rebounding, but the game result wasn’t what the NBA veteran had expected.
Tapped by Barako Bull to replace Evan Brock in a bid boost the Energy Colas' chances of making the quarterfinals, the seven-foot reinforcement fell short of expectations as Barako Bull bowed to Petron Blaze, 77-88.
"It's kind of tough. It's not the way that I expect it," the 32-year-old said. "Like any player, I expect to win but we lost and we just have to deal with it."
Team highs of 14 points and 12 rebounds were obviously not enough and Barako Bull fell to 4-8 (win-loss) in ninth spot with just two games left in the Commissioner's Cup.
"I'll do my best next game, I will be ready," he said. "We will do anything to get to the playoffs so we will try to win (our next two games)."