BARAKO Bull has just lost its third straight tune-up game, yet there's no trace of disappointment in Rajko Toroman's demeanor.
Instead, the Energy Cola drillmaster managed to smile while praising the Energy Cola’s defensive effort after his team almost razed a 19-point deficit against Air21 and nearly snatched the win.
“Every day, I think we’re getting better and better. We’re now a bit deep in our lineup with the addition of some new players who just need to understand the new system I put in the team,” Toroman told Spin.ph after the 86-89 loss to Air21.
The new system, which relies a lot on ball movement and perimeter shooting, is beginning to take shape, especially in the final period when Barako Bull managed to close in at 76-79 after trailing, 46-65 entering the final period, before eventually folding up.
The Serbian mentor stressed that the tune-up games will serve them well when his team goes to the real battle in the Commissioner’s Cup, which kicks off on February 8.
While Toroman admitted that it would be impossible for his players to immediately understand what he has been teaching them during practice, especially with three new faces coming in off the trade, he said he’ll be more patient with his boys.
“We have four good players on the point guard spot. Jonas (Villanueva), Josh (Urbiztondo), Eman (Monfort) and Celino (Cruz). So we can put the pressure on defense. All these players can play, we’re much deeper. That’s how we look now,” he added.
Toroman said he’s excited to have two high-leaping and athletic wingmen in JC Intal and Allein Maliksi, who they acquired from San Mig Coffee and Barangay Ginebra. At the same time, they also got shooter Mark Macapagal, who was released by Meralco last month.
“These new guys can help us. Though, probably at beginning, we won’t play JC Intal because he’s still hurt. Maliksi … even though, he missed all those (outside) shots, yet, you can see he’s very athletic. He can play defense also,” said the former Gilas coach.