JOSH Urbiztondo is taking his move from a multi-titled team like San Mig Coffee to minnow Barako Bull as positively as he can.
Although the Energy Cola are considered underdogs going into the 38th season of the PBA starting this Sunday, the newly-acquired point guard is convinced the team is capable of springing surprises beginning with the Philippine Cup which kicks off on Sunday.
The 6-foot-1 Urbiztondo, shipped by the Mixers to the Energy Cola in exchange for the team’s first-round pick next year, accepts trades are but a part of the life of any professional player. He has now taken his winning attitude to Barako Bull as he vowed to help turn the team into a serious title contender.
“I really think we have a strong lineup this season,” said Urbiztondo after joining his first practice with Barako Bull. “We’ve got a big man in Enrico (Villanueva) who could help Doug Kramer inside. Then we still have Danny Seigle, who may be in his mid-30s, but can still score for the team.
“We even have workhorses like (Ronald) Tubid, Sean Anthony, and Roger Yap. These guys have championship experience.”
The entry of Urbiztondo is expected to fill the leadership vacuum left by two-time MVP Willie Miller, the 35-year-old veteran who was traded to newcomer Global Port in a multi-team deal, and Wynne Arboleda who has been moved to Air21.
As a starting point guard for San Mig Coffee (formerly B-Meg) last season, Urbiztondo blossomed into a capable leader, averaging 6.9 points per game (fifth in the team), 3.3 rebounds, and a team-best 2.9 assists. The numbers and his gung-ho style of play helped the team win the championship in the mid-season Commissioner’s Cup.
Urbiztondo’s hustle and no-fear approach to the game now make him a perfect fit for the system of coach Junel Baculi, who hopes the team’s much-improved roster will help it turn things around this season.