IT takes one great undersized defender to develop another one.
Revitalized Barangay Ginebra rookie Rodney Brondial credits deputy coach Freddie Abuda for guiding and supporting him as he finally cracks the regular rotation of the Kings’ injury-depleted roster in the ongoing PBA Governors Cup.
The freshman out of Adamson found himself playing extended minutes for the Kings as 'Twin Towers' Greg Slaughter and Japeth Aguilar began the season-ending tournament on the injury list.
As it is, he takes turn with Dave Marcelo in manning the paint for Ginebra as was the case during the team’s 105-98 win over KIA Motors Wednesday night at the Astrodome.
The former Adamson big man finished with three points and three rebounds in 19 minutes of play and got the unenviable task of going up against KIA’s shot-blocking import Hamady N’Diaye.
“Wala eh, our back is against the wall na that time. We got no choice. Kailangan mag-step up lang kami sa defense. Eh ako, ayaw ko naman ma-letdown yung teammates ko. Then, ikaw maging dahilan ng pagkatalo,” Brondial confided to Spin.ph after the game.
The 6-foot-4 Brondial could only thank Abuda a many-time member of the All-Defensive team who earned his spurs in the league playing under the great Ron Jacobs at San Miguel, for preparing him for the N'Diaye task.
The 6-foot-4 Abuda won Defensive Player of the Year awards in 1997 and 2000, and earned spots in the All-Defensive team for four straight seasons straight seasons (1997-2000).
Abuda was noted for defending imports during his time, something which he now tries to impart on the rookie big man.
“Iyung mga coaches like coach Freddie, eh alam niyo naman, yung first two games ko, puro foul ako. So ngayon, tinuturuan niya (Abuda) ako ng proper defense at talagang tinutukan niya ako,” he said.
“Sobrang credit ko yun kay coach Freddie, saka mga teammates ko na nagtitiwala pa rin sila.”
With the 7-foot Slaughter still out of commission for the next two weeks and and Aguilar listed as day-to-day, Brondial is expected to make the most of the playing time he’s enjoying right now.