KELLY Nabong was among the ‘small victories’ Nash Racela mentioned in an otherwise ill-fated PBA Philippine Cup campaign by Blackwater this season.
The Bossing obviously, have taken notice.
Management extended the contract of the 6-foot-4 forward until the end of the season after a conference that saw Nabong in total control of his well-known volcanic temper.
The veteran big man was initially signed for just the season-opening conference after being plucked out from the free agent list.
“Yes, (we extended his contract),” team owner Dioceldo Sy confirmed on Wednesday.
While players with expiring contracts are understandably extended until the season’s end as per a league memorandum, teams also have the option to renew or not players who will be lined up for the final conference of the year.
Nabong certainly deserved coming back after emerging as the Bossing’s second leading scorer in the Philippine Cup behind guard Simon Enciso, submitting numbers of 12.0 points, 9.0 rebounds, and 1.3 assists in seven games before sitting out the rest of the campaign with an injured knee.
Those numbers were good enough for Nabong to be considered by Racela, the former Blackwater coach, among the ‘small victories’ the franchise achieved in a stint marred by the dubious record of losing 19 straight games – a new PBA record.
“I’m sure other people are surprised with the way he’s playing now, he’s more controlled, and he’s been contributing,” said Racela of the 32-year-old Fil-Am forward.
“Yung makalaro siya ng maayos because that’s the way towards him reaching his full potential. Maybe you don’t see it right now, but is he continues to play that way, at least Blackwater could depend on him in the future.”
Not only did Blackwater extend Nabong’s contract, they also took care of the procedure done on his injured leg.
“We just fixed his knees and ankles. Linis lang,” said Sy. “Minor (procedure). Two weeks balik na siya sa training.”
Interim coach Ariel Vanguardia has yet to set up Nabong for an exit interview upon assuming the job from Racela.
Along with Nabong, also given contract extension by the Bossing was guard Baser Amer.