GUNNER Gary David played down the exchange of words he had with youthful slotman Rabeh Al-Hussaini during GlobalPort’s PBA debut on Sunday against Barangay Ginebra.
David and Al-Hussaini were seen having an animated discussion after the league’s scoring champion called out the former Rookie of the Year for what he had perceived was the lack of effort on his part to play defense and grab rebounds.
“Si Rabeh, kailangan lang naman pukpukin, kausapin. Siyempre, ayaw ko rin naman mapansin pa siya ng ibang tao,” David told Spin.ph. "Kailangan lang total team effort kami. Importante dito sa team eh tulong-tulong."
The spat, witnessed by thousands who watched the season's opening game at the Smart Araneta Coliseum and commented on by the broadcast panel covering the game, was just one of the many things that went wrong for the Batang Pier during the 90-110 blowout loss to the Gin Kings.
David's cold shooting contributed to the loss, too, as he made just one of 10 shots from the floor. Al-Hussaini and the rest of the Batang Pier's big men were also manhandled off the boards, 55-28, while their porous yielded 18 fastbreak points to the Kings.
But it was the lackluster effort on defense that really got rookie coach Glen Capacio steaming.
“Glaring naman dahil wala kaming defense. Medyo magulo pa kasi ang team. Kailangan talaga mag-usap sa loob ng court,” Capacio told Spin.ph after the team’s practice on Tuesday at the Moro Lorenzo gym inside the Ateneo campus.
David's nine-point output was a far cry from his league-best 25.8 points per-game average last year with Powerade, the same franchise GlobalPort bought in the offseason. But the Smart Gilas stalwart dismissed it as nothing more than an off-night on his part while giving credit to Ginebra's defense.
“Off-night eh. Pero siyempre, I give credit to Ginebra’s defense, too. Kaya nung huli, di ko na pinipilit,” he said.
David said everyone in the team is still adjusting to the system of Capacio, a top defensive player during his playing days, but he expects things to settle down in due time.
“Nag-a-adjust pa lahat sa sistema. Bago ang teammates, tapos ilang araw pa lang kami magkakasama,” said David, who joined the team late having played in two international tournaments with Smart Gilas.
On Tuesday, Capacio and the team viewed the tape of Sunday’s game as they began the process of making the necessary adjustments ahead of their second game against Air21 Express on October 7.
“At least, we have time to prepare. Pero itong buong week na ito, mas magko-concentrate talaga kami sa defense,” said Capacio. “I guess lahat naman ng teams nagdadaan sa ganitong stage kung maraming bago. But we offer no excuses. We didn’t show effort on defense.”