Mike DiGregorio channels 'mamba mentality' as he makes most of new lease on life
It's all in the mind, says Blackwater guard Mike DiGregorio. Jerome Ascano

MIKE DiGregorio believes he channeled his inner Kobe Bryant on Sunday when he continued his consistent offensive performance for Blackwater in its breakthrough 92-86 win over Phoenix in the PBA Governors’ Cup.

The sophomore shooting guard, one of the few bright spots for the Elite amid their three-game skid to start the season-ending conference, registered a new career high of 28 points on 9-of-19 shooting as he conspired with new import Bill Walker in leading the team to its first win.

“I always believed in myself,” DiGregorio said. “I’m a big big Kobe Bryant fan, mamba mentality. It’s mental, you know what I mean? You keep telling yourself, you start to believe it.”

“I worked so hard for this,” added the 26-year-old cager, who the Elite picked up from the free agent market after getting dropped by Kia before the start of the Commissioner’s Cup. “Since I’ve been to Blackwater, you guys seen, my play has skyrocketed.”

[See Blackwater rides replacement import Bill Walker to end dry spell]

DiGregorio highlighted his offensive onslaught with a tough bank shot that gave the Elite enough gap down the stretch.

“I think it was a scramble play,” he explained. “I got the ball, I looked at the opposite shot clock, I saw there was like two seconds, three seconds left, I spun back the other way, and I knew I had to get it up, so I just had to do a one-legged runner.”

Now, the Filipino-Italian cager, who eclipsed his previous personal best of 22 points he recorded last conference, is eager to keep repaying the trust from the Elite management and coaching staff.

“I’m grateful to Blackwater, the management, for giving me this opportunity and I try to take advantage of it,” he said. “Like I said, it’s mental. When I go into a game, I play with a chip on my shoulder. I play to prove to everybody what I can do and I don’t think the guy in front of me is any better than me so it’s mental.”

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