IT was more the urgency to win rather than the desire to get back at his former team which had young big man Yousef Taha playing like everything was on the line on Sunday for Globalport.
The 28-year-old Fil-Kuwaiti saw action for extended minutes and proved to be a thorn in Star's' side in the Hotshots' 105-102 overtime win over the Batang Pier in their tightly-fought PBA Governors Cup match at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Taha came through with 10 points and 13 rebounds in 40 minutes of play in his first game against the very same franchise of which he was a part when it won a grand slam in 2014.
But Taha refused to label his performance a statement game against the Hotshots, stressing it was fueled more by the desire to help the Batang Pier break through the win column more than anything else.
Taha was dealt by the Hotshots to the Batang Pier in a three-way trade with Phoenix that involved RR Garcia, Keith Jensen, Rodney Brondial, Ronald Pascual, Jonathan Uyloan, Mark Cruz, and Norbert Torres.
“I don’t worry about who I played for. I played for a lot of teams in the past, but just whoever is in front of us, that’s who I’ll take care (of). Not like really who they are or whatever,” said Taha.
The 11th overall pick in the 2012 PBA Draft held the fort for Globalport against Star’s big men as Jay Washington and Rico Maierhofer are still to recover from their respective injuries.
What made him a bit effective against the Hotshots was his familiarity with the team’s system, having been with the franchise for two years and being part of its champion teams several times in the past.
“The guys still do the same things. It wasn’t anything that I do not know. I know all their tendencies,” he admitted.
It was unfortunate the Batang Pier found themselves at the losing end again, absorbing their third straight loss for a share of the cellar with Phoenix.
Just the same, he doesn’t take anything personal against the Hotshots, who he describes as his ‘brothers.’
“We’re always gonna be close. I’ll keep in touch with them forever,” said the 6-foot-7 Taha. “I’m still close to everybody, they’re like my brothers.”