Gavina praises Mahindra rookie Eriobu: ‘He’s a tremendous talent’
Rookie Joseph Eriobu has been one of the few positives for Mahindra, which is still searching for its first win in the 2017 PBA Philippine Cup.
The former Mapua Cardinal continued to impress, holding his own when the Floodbuster played San Miguel on Sunday.
Hitting crucial baskets down the stretch, Eriobu fired 11 of his 17 points in the fourth quarter and none bigger than the 3-pointer he nailed from the top of the arc to put Mahindra up, 88-85.
However, what stood out for the Fil-Nigerian big man was his crucial mistake down the stretch when he we went iso and shot an ill-advised three right in front of Arwind Santos inside the final minute. He missed the shot and the Beermen rolled on to a 94-91 victory.
“What I did was a rookie mistake. Coach’s instruction for me was to drive, but I felt it’s better if I fire a jump shot,” an apologetic Eriobu said. “Sa totoo lang, natakot ako kay Arwind. (To be honest, I was scared of Arwind.)”
But for coach Chris Gavina, he’s willing to look past that instance and laud Eriobu for the great job he has done so far this conference.
“Joseph is a tremendous talent,” Gavina said. “I don’t even think he knows what his true potential is yet. He’s having fun out there, which is good. Him and Russel (Escoto) are really learning game-to-game, but it’s just their energy and their willingness to get better at practice, that’s what’s really paying off for them now in the games.”
Eriobu is just thankful for the confidence given to him by Gavina, something which he attributes to his impressive showing so far.
“Ang maganda lang dun, nandoon yung trust na binibigay sa akin ni coach. Sabi niya sa akin sa locker room after the game na lesson learned daw yun, marami daw nangyayaring ganoon sa mga rookies, so ite-take ko na lang yung negative na nagawa ko as a positive para sa next game, kung mangyari man ulit yun, maganda na yung magawa ko,” he said.
(The good thing there is the coach’s trust given to me. He told me in the locker room after the game that it’s a lesson learned for us, that a lot of mistakes also happen to other rookies, so I’ll take that negative as a positive so that in our next game, if that happens to me again, I can do better.)
Eriobu also believes that after pushing San Miguel Beer to its limit, it’s only a matter of time before Mahindra nails its first victory of the season.
“In our past practices, we already have a better cohesion. We’re practicing our ball movement more, and we’re getting our chemistry down,” he said. “Coach Chris told us that it’s a matter of time that we can build our chemistry. In our upcoming games, I think the people can expect that we can get our first win.”
The Floodbuster play Ginebra on Friday.
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