MANILA, Philippines—Superstition? A little. But mostly, it was just the reward for all the hard work Gary David put in for Gilas Pilipinas.
The Globalport gunner admitted that a trip back to his hometown allowed him to refocus himself for the task at hand, but it was adding a few items to his wardrobe that sparked him somewhat as he knocked in 22 points to lead the Philippines past Kazakhstan, 88-58, in the Fiba Asia Championship at Mall of Asia Arena.
“There were a few clothing items that I decided to wear again,” David said in Filipino after the game Friday night.
Pressed for details, he smiled sheepishly: “Underwear.”
And he also decided to put on his trusty wristband for good measure.
“I just tried to refocus myself. I thought of all the things that I do in the PBA and I also put on a few pieces of clothing that I wore in the past when I had big games,” said David.
The result was phenomenal. Going into the match, David had a total of 16 points for the tournament. But with 2:27 left in the first quarter, he launched a triple that kissed cotton, giving Gilas Pilipinas a 21-7 headstart—and he immediately knew the slump was over.
“When I made the first shot, I felt good,” said David. “I knew that I had a rhythm going.”
He made two more triples in the first half, the last giving Gilas Pilipinas a 32-13 spread. He wound up making 3-of-5 from beyond the arc for a 7-of-11 fieldgoal total. He also gained enough momentum and confidence going into Saturday’s crucial semifinal bout.
“I hope this is the start,” said David.
National coach Chot Reyes, however, feels that David was due for an explosion.
“He put in all the hard work,” said Reyes, who never lost faith in David even when he was mired in a slump.
“There were several players we wanted who were not made available by their teams or did not want to join us at all. Gary David was here since Day One,” said Reyes. “Shooters shoot and they will sometimes miss. But the worst thing I could have done was to lose faith in him.”