Cagayan comes together after Pua ban
How did Cagayan Gerry’s fare in its first game after the lifetime ban of head coach Alvin Pua?
The Rising Suns seemed to have never missed a step.
Dedicating all of its remaining games to the beleaguered coach, and even having the letters “ATP,” Pua’s initials, inscribed to the jerseys of its players, Cagayan tripped rival and top-seeded Cebuana Lhuillier, 102-95, in its first win in the post-Pua era.
More importantly, the victory signified that the Rising Suns will get hold of the number three spot after holding the tiebreaker against Hapee, which also sports an identical 6-3 record.
But for the guys who are playing their hearts out on the court, the loss of Pua should not diminish the lessons the fiery coach has instilled in them.
“It’s a learning lesson for coach Alvin, but for us, we just want to maintain our character,” said Abel Galliguez. “We’d like to identify our team as a squad playing with heart and passion. We’re the underdog in this game and that’s how we reacted to coach Alvin’s ban.”
Assistant coach Toto Dojillo, Nonoy Bonleon, and Francis Rodriguez all took turns in steering the Cagayan ship on Monday. But the players know that the shadow of Pua still casts upon the Rising Suns.
“Kahit wala si coach, lagi din nya kaming ina-advise na mag-go hard. Kahit wala sya sa court, ina-update pa rin sya eh,” said Don Trollano.
Galliguez added, “We always know he’s watching us. He’s gonna watch and evaluate the film and we’re going to play with or without coach [Pua]. The strength of our team is whoever’s coaching us so we’re just going to play hard and give our best every time.”
Only time will tell if Pua’s expulsion could fuel Cagayan Gerry’s in its final D-League conference.