PAUL Zamar felt like he was transported back to Reyes Gym on Wednesday, playing a scrimmage against guys like Mike DiGregorio and Roi Sumang in practice.
"Feeling ko nga nasa scrimmage kami eh," he said with a smile.
Zamar is still in red, but this time, his jersey has big black daggers on it as he now carries the flag for San Miguel.
And this was no practice, as the sweet-shooting guard faced off against his former Blackwater peers for the first time since getting traded to the Beermen in exchange for a pair of future second-rounders.
The 31-year-old guard didn't deny the uneasy feeling he had trying to defend his old teammates in SMB's 93-79 victory in the 2019 PBA Philippine Cup.
"Nakasama ko sila for six to eight months sa practices and games. Hindi rin ganoon kadali alisin yung feeling kasi nakasama mo sila ng matagal at na-attach ka na sa kanila personally," said Zamar, who's eternally grateful to the Elite for giving him his PBA break last season.
"But for us professionals, we have to move on and hopefully, this is a part of the process going forward."
Zamar tried his best to get out of his shooting slump but still went 0-of-4 from the field. Yet he made a conscious effort to make up for those struggles as he played solid defense in his 13 minutes on the floor where he found himself matched up a number of times with the likes of DiGregorio, Sumang, and veteran Mike Cortez.
"You just have to take out their strong points on offense," he said, citing his familiarity with his old teammates' tendencies. "You play with their weakness somehow and kahit paano, nakatulong sa team defensively. Although may slump ako sa shooting, tiwala naman ako na we'll get there."
More than the reunion, Zamar relished San Miguel getting back to its winning ways as it levelsled its standing at 3-3, with the hopes of finally turning the corner after an erratic start to its bid for a five-peat in this all-Filipino conference.
"Slowly but surely, we're fixing things, pero mahabang proseso ito," he admitted. "Di mo pwedeng i-shortcut yung teaching points on defense, especially that you cannot teach effort. Yun ang tinanim sa utak namin ni coach Leo (Austria), na we have to give our efforts on defense and our offense will just follow."