BARAKO Bull coach Koy Banal is drawing inspiration from reigning NBA champion Golden State, believing his team can somehow emulate the Warriors’ success in the PBA.
The Warriors defeated the Cleveland Cavaliers in six games in the NBA finals behind a small lineup led by star point guard and league MVP Steph Curry.
“It’s a small-ball team,” Banal said in a chat with Spin.ph after practice on Monday. “Golden State gave me an inspiration on figuring it out how to win games.”
“We’re a small team, too,” he added. “We have to be an up-tempo team.”
Banal, who had been running the triangle offense in past seasons, had no choice but to implement a new system owing to a surplus of point guards in his rotation in RR Garcia and new acquisitions Jeric Fortuna, Emman Monfort, Josh Urbiztondo, and Jens Knuttel.
Fortuna arrived from San Miguel Beer by way of a trade for Carlo Lastimosa while Monfort, Urbiztondo and Knuttel were acquired from Ginebra in a trade that saw Barako give up Nico Salva and a first-round draft pick.
Banal obviously doesn't have the biggest or most balanced lineup in the league entering the new season, but he's making the most of what he has behind a change in tactics.
“Everybody’s excited,” Banal said. “The coaching staff is doing a good job in explaining to the team and I’m glad everybody is open to the new ideas and trying to embrace it.”
Monfort, one of the league’s smallest players at 5’6”, rattled off the factors that made the Warriors successful.
“They work together, they move the ball well, and they play defense,” he said, believing the Energy have what it takes to thrive under the circumstances.
“Heart over height anytime,” the Ateneo product proudly said. “It’s the will to win that matters the most.”
“Sigurado there’s going to be a lot of mismatches,” he added. “Depende lang 'yun kung ano paano kami mag-work as a team on defense. And dapat gang rebounding kami. Everybody should help each other.”
With two undersized big men in 6-foot-2 Willy Wilson and 6-foot-3 Jondan Salvador, the Energy signed two legitimate center in rookie freshmen Yutien Andrada and Mike Miranda, who both stand 6-5.
Barako also welcomed back veteran 6-foot-10 Mick Pennisi, whom they got from a trade with Star last week.
Wingman Dylan Ababou refused to dwell on their weaknesses.
“Nakaka-inspire kasi kung sila (Warriors) nagawa, possible talaga siya magawa,” he said. “Pero mas nagfo-focus kami sa bagay na may control kami like yung working hard, playing as a team.”
“We focus on the journey rather than the destination,” he added.