AFTER playing for five teams in just three years as a pro, Yousef Taha appeared to have finally found a home at Purefoods.
Finally earning playing minutes following the conference-ending injury to forward Ian Sangalang, the 6-foot-8 Taha is definitely making the most out of the opportunity as he has been churning out career-high numbers of 7.5 points, 7.5 rebounds, 1.7 assists, and 1.2 blocks with the Hotshots in the ongoing PBA Philippine Cup.
Purefoods is so far the fifth team for the big man out of North Lake following stints with Air21, Barangay Ginebra, Petron, and Globalport.
“I ask so many questions to my teammates and they help me a lot so basically, I’m learning from everybody because the core of the team has been around for like three or four years already under coach Tim (Cone),” Taha told Spin.ph following another splendid back-up job as Purefoods gout out of the rut with a convincing 92-76 hammering of hard-luck NLEX in Friday.
Taha logged in seven points, grabbed four rebounds, added an assist and a steal in 19 minutes of play while helping out veteran slotman Rafi Reavis man the paint.
The youthful Purefoods center admitted despite playing five games already with the team this conference, along with an additional seven during the offseason, there’s still a lot to learn with the trademark triangle offense being employed by Cone.
“He’s (Cone) great man. He’s showing me all the options on what to learn from the triangle, because you know, I came here with a whole bunch of different systems,” explained the 26-year-old Taha.
The third year pro also admitted that his play is completely different from Sangalang, the left-handed sophomore forward, who provided the energy off the bench for the Hotshots last season and enabled the franchise to capture a fourth straight league title last July.
Sangalang is out for the entire All-Filipino conference after going down with an ACL injury early in the tournament.
“Ian is Ian. I can’t do what Ian does for the team, but all I’ll try to bring is the energy and just play hard-nosed defense,” Taha said.
Although the Hotshots are still far from where they want to be with their anemic 2-3 win-loss record, they have enough time to prepare this weekend as they return to action on Tuesday opposite winless Blackwater.