Zamar: Facing a depleted Hapee squad still no joke
Going against an undermanned Hapee team, Cebuana Lhuillier coach Boycie Zamar believes that whether the Fresh Fighters are complete or not, the Gems will still be going up against a dangerous squad.
“When it comes to the semis, the stats are thrown out of the window. It’s all about guts,” he said. “There’s no reason for Hapee not to play the way they did last conference.”
“When it comes to the semis, it’s a whole new thing. It’s our chance now that they don’t have the national players, but at the same time, we have to be matured when we face them,” Zamar continued.
Due to the SEA Games coinciding with the 2015 PBA D-League Foundation Cup semifinals, both the teams’ lineups have taken a hit, with Cebuana missing Norbert Torres and Almond Vosotros, while Baser Amer, Scottie Thompson, and Troy Rosario will not see action for Hapee.
Aside from the national players, key figures Bobby Ray Parks and Garvo Lanete, both former D-League MVPs, are also out of commission in Hapee’s quest for a second D-League title.
Still, Zamar reminded his wards not to be complacent as the deficiencies could also motivate the rest of the Fresh Fighters to step up in the crucial part of the tourney.
“It’s a motivation for Hapee that they are depleted. We don’t want to look at it that way. They’ve been playing undermanned for long, but they’re playing as a unit,” he said. “It’s not about the players who are sitting at the bench, but the players who are coming to the floor. It’s all about mental toughness come the semifinals.”
The outspoken coach is also positive that the long break allowed the Gems to recuperate after their 0-2 finish in the eliminations, tainting their erstwhile-immaculate 7-0 run to start the Foundation Cup.
“I think we have to put that on a proper perspective. Last time, we just wanted to be consistent, and we got killed in the semis. Now, as early as the eliminations, we learned our lessons,” said Zamar.
He continued, “We’re also coming from injuries. The two-week break allowed us to recover and we have regrouped. We have a chance to redeem ourselves. The players have to take the challenge and we’re ready for the semifinals on Monday.”
Pressed to look at the difference between Cebuana and Hapee, Zamar summed up the duel, saying, “They’re experienced, but we’re hungrier.”
Game 1 of the best-of-3 semifinals series between the Fresh Fighters and the Gems is on Monday at the Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig City. CFC
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