BARAKO Bull may have lost its shot at a twice-to-beat advantage in the quarterfinals of the Smart Bro-PBA Philippine Cup after losing to Alaska, 108-100, on Saturday.
But Energy coach Koy Banal believes his team has overachieved by making the playoff alone considering the controversial trades the team made in the offseason that left it at the bottom of the preseason rankings.
“Nag-overachieve kami,” Banal said. “I would like to give the credit to the players. They really wanted to prove something.”
“Ako nga, I don’t say a word, because they are motivated,” he added. “Ako, nandun lang ako to guide them, give them a pointer or two, and then they’re the ones who are playing.”
The team lost Joseph Yeo, Carlo Lastimosa, Jake Pascual, Dylan Ababou, and Rico Maierhoher, and gained Mac Baracael, Prince Caperal, Mick Pennisi, Emman Monfort, Josh Urbiztondo, and Jens Knuttel, as well as a bunch of future picks.
That made up a rag-tag group that made surprises in the elimination round of the all-Filipino conference where the Energy finished at the middle of the pack with a 5-6 win-loss card.
While they have overachieved, Banal is hardly satisfied as they meet either Ginebra or Talk ‘N Text – teams they beat – in the first round of the playoffs.
“Baka pwede pa, konti pang push,” the veteran coach said with a smile. “Who knows? Nothing is impossible to those who believe.”