Mike Tolomia tempers expectations as RoS looks to him to help fill gap left by Paul Lee
Rain or Shine rookie with former FEU teammate Mac Belo at the end of the tune-up game against Blackwater. Jaime Campos

MIKE Tolomia is tempering the tremendous expectations on him, saying he still has a long way to go before becoming the player he is being groomed to be for Rain or Shine.

E-Painters coach Caloy Garcia, moments after RoS took Tolomia in the draft last month, said he is hoping the Gilas cadet star can “take the place of Paul Lee.”

But Tolomia is well aware of the work he needs to put in first before he can fill the void left by their former E-Painters star.

“Nakakapressure,” the former Far Eastern University star admitted after their tune-up game against Blackwater on Thursday. “Siguro yun yung expectation niya, pero syempre ‘di naman agad yung mangyayari, It’s a long process pero pagtrabahuhan ko yun kung yun yung expectations nila sa akin.”

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Despite the expectations, Tolomia knows significant playing time won’t be handed to him on a silver platter.

“Alam ko namang bago ako pumasok, yung Rain or Shine malakas na team talaga,” the 2016 D-League Foundation Cup MVP said. “Ako lang yung rookie na pick nila, (pero) ‘di naman ako nageexpect ng mataas na minutes. Kung ano lang ibigay na minutes, pagtratrabahuhan ko lang tsaka syempre kailangan ko rin i-earn yung trust.”

Garcia implied Tolomia has to work on his decision making.

“I just let him do his thing in our tune-up games, but he still has a lot to work on,” the young coach said.

Garcia said management will sit down with Tolomia on Saturday to formally make a contract offer.

“Hopefully (long contract),” Tolomia said. “Depende naman yan eh kung ano ibigay nila. Tanggapin ko naman eh. Trabaho lang." 

The meeting comes a day after the E-Painters take on San Miguel Beer in a preseason game in Bulacan.

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Follow the writer on Twitter: @KarloSacamos