AS Barangay Ginebra makes the tough transition to the triangle offense, PBA great Abe King said he feels it is a good a time as any for a changing of the guard.
With the title drought of the league's most popular team going seven years and counting, the many-time All-Star and All-Defensive Team member said it is time for young Ginebra players to step up and the team's longtime stars to accept diminished roles.
"I think it's about time na mag-give way na 'yung ibang veterans ng team sa mga mas batang kakampi nila. Hindi habambuhay sila (ang bida)," said King in an overseas interview with Spin.ph.
"Imagine mo 'yung team mo, pitong taon nang hindi nag cha-champion. Napakalaking problema nyan, tapos hindi man lang regular na lumalaro ng championship," he added.
King believes that Ginebra stars like Mark Caguioa and Jayjay Helterbrand, who have been the heart and soul of the team since 2001, should start accepting new roles in the team.
"Unless they can still play important roles in the team, siguro they should start thinking about accepting new roles sa team nila. They can play back-up to the younger guys. Hindi kasi habang panahon nasa top level ang laro mo," he said.
"Hindi ko sinasabi na laos na sila o wala na silang laro. Ang nais ko lang i-point out, siguro kailangan na rin nilang magbigay sa mga mas bata, i-train nila at i-guide para may smooth transition," King said.
"Kung mahusay pa naman sila at nakakatulong, eh di well and good. Pero sabi ko nga, dapat ma-realize nila na hindi habambuhay, mataas ang level ng laro nila," he said.
The outspoken former San Beda star also shared how he and cage legend Robert Jaworski, among others, gave way to younger players during their time together with the Toyota Super Corollas.
"Nangyari sa amin sa Toyota 'yan. Tinanggap namin ang back-up role sa Toyota. Kasi alam namin na kailangan ding bigyan ng chance ang mga mas bata, same way na binigyan kami ng chance to shine nung kami yung mga bata," he said.
"Si Jawo nung araw, alam niya na nagkaka-edad na siya at bumabagal. Hinayaan niya sila Arnie (Tuadles) na magkaroon ng playing time. Kasi nung time namin, mahusay si (then Toyota coach) Ed Ocampo eh. Alam niya yun na kailangang mag transition," added King.
At the same time, King said Ginebra management should be firm on this.
"HIndi ka pupwedeng maging malambot dyan. Kailangan ikaw ang masunod, kung kailangan nang humanap at mag-develop ng bagong players na may potensyal, dapat ganun. Hindi pwedeng kukunsitihin mo ang kapritso ng players," he said.
King cited a long line of promising players who never reached their potential at Ginebra, only because they never really got the chance to show what they can do.
"Sayang 'yung mga 'yun. Mahuhusay 'yun. They could have been the future of the team. Kaso sabi ko nga, nabulok sila sa bench. Nawalan ng kumpyansa," he said.
"Ang player kasi pag nabulok sa bench 'yan ng dalawa hanggang tatlong taon, sira na 'yan. Hindi na babalik ang kumpiyansa ng mga 'yan. Kaso paano mo nga mabibigyan ng tsansa kung hirap sila kumuha ng playing time?"
King made it clear he is only giving his two cents worth on the matter, saying he feels the pain of Ginebra fans - majority of whom he believes are former Toyota fans.
"Galing Toyota ang mga old-time fans nila eh. Mga supporters ng team namin dati 'yan. Kaya nararamdaman ko ang lungkot at hinagpis nila na hindi nakakatikim ng championship ang team na sinusportahan nila," he said.
"Alang-alang sa mga fans, dapat magtulong tulong ang lahat ng nasa team para maabot yung misyon na 'yun. Hindi dapat kailanman mauuna ang sariling interest sa kapakanan ng team at fans nito," he added.