YOUSEF Taha is relishing the challenge of holding the fort for San Mig Super Coffee while veteran forward Marc Pingris is on a leave of absence for three weeks.
The 26-year-old center has been hard at work in the offseason as he tries to whip himself into top shape to take advantage of the opportunities coming his way with Pingris taking a much-needed rest.
“Of course, I love to actually play. I think it gives the opportunity for other guys to step up,” said Taha, who is now in his fifth PBA team since being selected 11th overall in the 2012 PBA Rookie draft by Air21.
“We have a really deep team, but of course, we’ll miss Ping, but we’ll see if we can hold it down while he’s gone,” Taha added.
San Mig coach Tim Cone has given Pingris a break after a gruelling stint with Gilas Pilipinas in the Fiba World Cup and Asian Games, and is now counting on relievers like Taha to fill the void while 'Ping' is gone.
After becoming part of San Mig's grand slam season, Taha said he’s now working on getting more comfortable playing the triangle offense, a system that has produced 18 league titles for coach Tim Cone.
“I’m getting there slowly. He (Cone) got me learning a few different positions, but in time, maybe, couple more weeks, I’ll be good,” he said.
Taha has been getting the playing minutes during the team’s first six preseason games, where San Mig went 0-5 against Korean teams before dropping an 81-84 decision to NLEX last Saturday in Binan. Laguna.