Old habits hard to break for 'conventional' KIA, admits coach Chris Gavina
Chris Ravina rues KIA players are going back to their old habits. Dante Peralta

ANTIPOLO – KIA coach Chris Gavina rued his team appears to be going back to its old, wrong habits as it suffered a 125-102 beating at the hands of Phoenix in their PBA Philippine Cup matchup on Wednesday night.

Coming off a four-point loss to NLEX that seemed like a moral victory last week, the Picanto fell back to earth after the Fuel Masters blew them out, putting up a dismal performance that looked like flashes of their form in their winless Governors’ Cup campaign.

“Ugly – really one word to describe it all today,” Gavina said after emerging from the dugout following a long talk with his staff. “A lot of me-ball again, came back that haunted us all last season. Our guys had the deer lights again in trying to feel as if statistics were more than the team effort to win this game.”

“Considering how we came out last week, today was a disappointment all the way down the line,” he added. “You got to give Phoenix their due credit. They knew our gameplan, they came in with a … they played great defense on us on our pick-and-roll actions. We got destroyed.”

For a team that’s preaching an unconventional approach to playing in justifying their head-scratching trade of the No. 1 overall pick in exchange of three bench players, the Picanto hardly looked like a squad that’s trying to turn things around.

“We really had a lack of cohesion tonight,” Gavina said. “I don’t know the answers, but it was a matter of us sticking to our system and going back to the way we used to be. We’ll adjust in our first day of practice on Friday.”

“It's a transition for us right now, trying to find some level of continuity between... Let's say everything's been conventional so far,” he added with a smile.

One bad habit that has stayed is their selfishness on the court.

“A lot of things have been said on media, about, you know, showing the mistake of that trade, and guys are trying to... They're taking it as a challenge but they're taking it in a wrong way,” Gavina said.

“Not one person is gonna deliver us the win. It's gotta be a team effort. They know that, we know that. And it showed today, our level of selfishness on the court,” he added.

Still, Gavina is staying positive after his team suffered a 14th straight loss dating back to last season.


“Man, if Santa Claus had anything to give me, it will be this first win after 14 straight,” Gavina wished. “But, you know, can't keep your head down, push forward, learn, and not try to relive those bad moments.”

Follow the writer on Twitter: @KarloSacamos