ARELLANO slotman Prince Caperal admitted having a tough time adjusting to his diminished role with the Chiefs in Season 90 of the NCAA men’s basketball tournament.
The 21-year-old stalwart was supposed to sustain the gains he made last year when he normed 13.6 points, 9.1 boards, 1.3 blocks in 28.1 minutes in a performance that led to his inclusion in the national team that represented the country in the last Southeast Asian Games.
Instead, a handful of factors - new coach, system, and teammates - have caused him to even regress in his final year.
“Ang hirap mag-adjust. Ang daming pumapasok sa isip ko,” Caperal said in a chat with Spin.ph after the Chiefs’ 98-99 triple-overtime loss to Jose Rizal University on Friday, admitting he has sought advice from several people, including former coach Koy Banal.
So far, his numbers are a far cry from those of last season as he came in Friday averaging just five points, 4.2 rebounds, and .7 blocks in 15.3 minutes.
“Na-pe-pressure ako at nafru-frustrate na rin ako,” admitted Caperal, the team’s skipper this year and one of six graduating players.
Aside from a new coach in Jerry Codiñera, who has instilled a new system, the arrival of American big man Dioncee Holts, a double-double machine, has also affected Caperal’s production this year.
“Malaki din (effect ni Dioncee). Magka-puwesto kami tapos maganda pa nilalaro nila.”
“Wala, natabunan na,” the 6-foot-5 cager said with a laugh.
“Pero maganda naman ang pinapakita ng team eh,” Caperal was quick to add. “Okay lang kahit hindi tayo masyadong nagagamit basta as long as para sa team, okay ako dun.”
But he feels he can provide more contribution if given more playing time.
“May mga time na wala pa akong ten minutes nagamit. May mga time na kahit panalo, parang malungkot ka pa rin.”
Despite getting less playing time, he still feels Codiñera expects more from him.
“Parang may hinihintay pa siya sa akin na kung bakit hindi niya ako magamit. Hindi pa daw lumalabas yung laro ko.”
“Pero coach siya eh. Yun `yung pananaw niya,” he added. “Ako na nga siguro `yung problema.”
But the dependable big man is not complaining.
“Hindi naman. Ako naman, positive lang talaga,” Caperal said. “Wala rin naman magagawa yung pagtatampo ko. Ako rin naman maaapektuhan. Kaya positive lang ako.
“Kung ipapakita ko sa kanila na nagtatampo ako, baka lalo akong hindi gamitin. Kailangan ko rin ipakita na karapat-dapat ako sa minuto ko.”
Caperal did see an increased action against the Bombers, finishing with six points and eight boards in 24 minutes, including playing in crucial junctures in the overtime periods.
“Kanina medyo bumabalik na yung minuto ko. Sana nga tuloy-tuloy na.”