CAGE legend Alvin Patrimonio can’t help but see a shade of himself watching student Karim Abdul play for University of Santo Tomas.
“Meron,” said Patrimonio, when asked if he sees some moves of Abdul similar to his during his storied playing career.
“'Yung mga moves na nakikita ko, ginagawa ko rin ‘yun eh. Nabanggit ko din sa kanya ‘yun na you have to be stronger inside, you have to battle, you have to dominate inside kasi ‘yun ang strength niya,” said the four-time PBA MVP, who is currently consultant for the Espana-based school in the UAAP.
After a slow start in Season 78, Abdul picked up his game in the second round and finished the eliminations with averages of 12.6 points, 8.4 rebounds, and 1.2 blocks. The stellar play helped the Tigers end the regular season with an 11-3 (win-loss) card to gain a twice-to-beat incentive in the Final Four.
Patrimonio, also the current team manager of Star in the PBA, said he likes the way the 6-foot-6 Abdul has been picking up his game going to the playoffs.
“He (Abdul) is peaking at the right time,” he said. “Galing siya sa injury pero maganda ‘yung timing ng mga games niya. Nagpe-peak talaga siya towards the next level.”
Patrimonio came on board UST during the preseason as team consultant for its big men and has so far been satisfied with the way Abdul is playing.
The power forward out of Mapua is impressed with Abdul being a quick learner.
“Being one of the veterans, talagang gusto rin nung bata na makapag-champion kasi ilang years na rin siya,” said Patrimonio.
Still, he said there’s still a few more room for improvement for the Cameroonian center, which is why he continues to help him with his game.
“Up to now, nire-remind ko pa rin sila na kung may ganitong sitwasyon, ‘yun ang gawin niya. Just continue it. I’m sure mas masasanay na siya. Muscle memory ‘yun na sa ganung sitwasyon, alam na niya ‘yung counter move na gagawin niya,” said Patrimonio.