MERALCO import Mario West is on a shooting slump in the first two games of the PBA Governors Cup semifinals, but coach Ryan Gregorio is giving his American reinforcement the license to keep shooting.
West, a Georgia Tech alumnus, has shot just 21.2 percent from the field in the series as the San Mig defense has obviously stymied his effectiveness in the paint.
The soft-spoken Meralco import was averaging 28 points prior to the start of the semifinal series as he gets most of his points by attacking the basket.
The ongoing race-to-three win series, however, has exposed West’s weakness.
Still, Gregorio sees it in a different perspective.
“Consciously, we wanted to go to the line but for some reasons, Mario only got there three times (in Game Two) despite his aggressiveness,” said Gregorio, whose team managed to eke out a 73-69 win over San Mig on Wednesday to level the series at one win apiece.
“He is getting bludgeoned, yet the calls have been few and far between. (San Mig import Marqus) Blakely went to the line 26 times and, Mario only three. That’s a huge disparity,” he added.
The 6-foot-5 West bounced back from a PBA career-low nine points in Game One with a 17-point output in Game 2, but it took him 36 shots all in all to score that many points.
Nevertheless, Gregorio remains confident in his comebacking import, ordering him to maintain his aggressiveness and attack the paint with greater ferocity in Game Three on Friday.
“I don’t see the philosophies changing so we worked on ways to get high percentage shots to increase our output. I also told Mario to keep on attacking,” he added.