Shopinas hopes to pull off a few surprises
MANILA, Philippines—Built around players raring to prove their worth—the Shopinas Clickers are out to prove they’re no pushovers.
And coach Franz Pumaren is hoping to bank on that eagerness for vindication as the Clickers start their campaign in the 37th PBA Philippine Cup.
Free agents left unsigned by teams, or players never been signed make up the core of Shopinas. On paper, it’s a sheer disadvantage. But for Pumaren, it could be his squad’s strength.
“Most of our players, they want to prove something—that they deserve to be in the PBA,” said Pumaren.
College standouts who have never been given a break in the pros like Khasim Mira, Jojo Duncil, RJ Jazul, Elmer Espiritu, Ogie Menor, Borgie Hermida, and Mark Canlas will be Shopinas’ first line of threat.
Recent draftees like Brian Ilad and Magi King Sison paired with youthful yet experienced cogs like Dennis Daa and Renren Ritualo complete the Clickers.
“It’s a part of our plan to form a young team and hopefully later we will mature as the league progresses,” said Pumaren.
Pumaren plans to capitalize on these fresh legs as Shopinas, which might not be able to totally outgun PBA’s top squads but, could easily tire them out.
“We really want to push and have a run-and-gun game. Our youthfulness is an advantage,” said Pumaren. “It will be a team effort as we don’t really have a dominant player right now.”
But for Pumaren, the more pressing concern for his squad isn’t the lack of a go-to-guy or the squad’s general inexperience—it’s scrimping on time to get ready.
“One of the hardest parts was to form the team, and we just formed the squad two weeks ago. We barely practiced,” he said.
Come game time, Pumaren, though realistic in his squad chances, knows they can compete.
“Hopefully we’ll pull some surprises,” Pumaren said.
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