As he rounds into top form, Ronald Tubid warns rivals against taking KIA lightly
Ronald Tubid is working hard to reach peak form and give solid numbers for Kia after posting career lows in minutes, points and rebounds with SMB the past year. Jerome Ascano

RONALD Tubid has been huffing and puffing as runs up and down the floor in Kia’s tune-up games this offseason.

So what he was deprived at San Miguel Beer, the veteran wingman is bound to get an abundance with his new team starting in the upcoming Philippine Cup.

It’s almost like he’s the one begging off of playing time now.

“Ang tagal na (ako hindi nakakalaro ng ganito). Sabi ko, ‘Wow, ito pala yung twenty-three minutes,’” Tubid said with a chuckle in a recent chat with SPIN.ph. “I used to play (long minutes), pero last two conferences, parang two minutes per game lang ata.

After averaging a career-lows 4.2 minutes, 0.9 points, and 0.6 boards in his last conference for the Beermen, the 36-year-old cager is expected to see plenty of action for the Picanto after getting traded in the offseason along with Jay-R Reyes and Rashawn McCarthy for this year’s No. 1 overall pick that SMB used to pick Christian Standhardinger as expected.

“Sabi ko sa coach, dahan-dahanin ko muna yung rhythm ko,” Tubid said. “Hindi ko naman hinahanap yung scoring. Ang ano ko lang maturuan ko yung mga bata.

“I know this team, gutom, so kailangan yung gutom niyo, hindi yung sobrang aggressive. Kailangan aggressive, pero organized aggressive. Tsaka kailangan mag-invest muna sa defense, sa practice,” he added.

And Tubid, a former All-Defensive team member and two-time Mr. Quality Minutes awardee, is expected to lead by example on both ends of the floor after being named captain for this season.

“Dagdag responsibilidad, kaya ako mismo, pinu-push ko sarili ko para hindi nakakahiya, kasi i-preach mo tapos hindi mo ginagawa?” the 14-year veteran said. “Happy naman ako; First two weeks, medyo hirap sa adjustment, pero ngayon nakaka-adjust na, nagiging happy na going to practice.”

“Kaso lang nagiging sad going home after practice kasi traffic,” he added with a laugh, considering his five-minute drives from his Valle Verde home to Acropolis gym has turned into almost two-hour processions to the Picanto’s practice facility in Bicutan.

But Tubid doesn’t mind.

“At least dito, kahit papaano, makakapaglaro ako,” the University of the East product and the 16th overall pick in the 2003 draft said. “I’m blessed pa rin na may trabaho.”

“Makatulong lang ako, kaya ko pang dumepensa,” he added. “(Pero) hindi naman pwedeng go-to guy ako dyan eh. Sabi ko, as your captain ball, hindi tayo pwedeng umasa sa isa, dalawa, tatlo. Kailangan lahat tayo, share the load para hindi mahirap.”

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And now with a team filled with veterans, Tubid is confident that the Picanto can prove doubters wrong.

“You cannot please everybody,” Tubid said. “Kaya nga nagpa-practice kami. Yung basketball, hindi lang naman one-man team eh. It’s five versus five, so five-man team yan, so I don’t care if they say na benchwarmer kami. Kailangan mo  lang patunayan sa court. That’s why we’re working hard.

“I’m not going to promise anything, pero lalaban yung Kia,” he added. “Yun nga yung kagandahan kasi underdog eh. Sabi nga nila, twelve teams sa PBA, pang-thirteen yung Kia. We’ll see. Basta wag lang sila mag-kumpiyansa.”

“Kia will surprise other teams na mag-relax against us,” he concluded.

Follow the writer on Twitter: @KarloSacamos