‘Too many crybabies’: Gavina blasts team after frustrating loss
Struggling to hide his frustrations, Mahindra coach Chris Gavina pulled no punches in calling out his players after the Floodbuster succumbed to a 98-92 setback to Alaska Wednesday.
“We have too many crybabies right now,” he said.
Gavina didn’t mind singling out his players, especially import James White and Alex Mallari, for what he felt were lackluster performances and even worse attitude.
“James is getting his numbers, but it’s not the numbers where it’s making a significant effect. I keep preaching to him that his growth has to be where if he has a local on him, he has to be able to dominate during that period he’s there. I think there was a span of two minutes where they had (Marion) Magat on him and we kept trying to go to him and I don’t think we even got just two points from him. I know (Alaska import Cory) Jefferson was already laboring from a groin injury, and I was telling him, ‘Attack him, attack him,’ but our locals did a better job of attacking and finishing at the rim tonight even though he got his 30 points,” he said.
Though White amassed 30 points, 14 rebounds, and three blocks, Gavina was unimpressed with the statline as he zoomed in on the reinforcement’s apparent absence late in the game.
“He did put out a hell of an effort, but it wasn’t the vital stats that we needed for us to go out on top. During a five-point game, your import has got to be excellent,” he said.
Gavina continued his tirad and turned his attention this time to Mallari, whom he said played “totally out of character.”
“He was getting opportunities of attacking the basket. On the other side, it wasn’t about the turnovers, it was about his reactions to it. We can’t afford to be complaining all the time and find excuses. I think that’s a big lack of being an adult. You just got to man up, move to the next play, and make the right plays next time and don’t lull about the calls you thought you deserve. You have to go out there and make another play to be productive. It doesn’t have to be in scoring all the time, it can be on defense.”
The Fil-Am mentor benched Mallari from the 7:56 mark of the third quarter until the end of the game, hoping to send a clear message to his swingman.
“I need him to be a leader for really us to emerge. If he wants to be considered my best player, he needs to be a leader that leads by example and throwing tantrums or bad body language does not do it for me or the team,” he said. “I need him to get back to last conference’s maturity level and as well as being able to lead this team.”
Though White and Mallari took the brunt of the Gavina’s ire, no one from the Mahindra lineup was excused from the coach’s angst.
“I think some guys are feeling that they are above of the team,” he said. “I don’t like it. Anybody who thinks that will be addressed. You know, attitude and character are things that I cannot control but I stressed after the game that I’m not gonna settle for anyone else’s standards but mine. It’s either you meet my standards or you’re going to get left behind.”
The Floodbuster mentor felt the team isn’t learning from its mistakes through four games, which ended in three losses and a single victory over the winless NLEX, this 2017 PBA Commissioner’s Cup, as he kept on seeing the same mistakes over and over again.
“It’s the lack of consistency from key guys that we needed to contribute. Our shooters came out with duds tonight and we were still in the game. We had key turnovers at the end, back-to-back turnovers by LA (Revilla). Against a team like Alaska, you make a run at the end, it makes it even a more difficult task to try to overcome a very disciplined team and their experience took over,” he said. “We keep making these dire mistakes on our end and it puts us a in a predicament where we’re in a constant uphill battle. We have to play perfect. We don’t have the talent to just match teams. We have to have a level of excellence on every given night. It’s all a game of inches and we gave up too many tonight.”
Sporting a 1-3 record early on in the conference, Gavina is hoping to have finally lit a fire under his players as Mahindra seeks to rise up the standings and compete for a quarterfinal spot.
“You put in the work and you show me your professionalism, you’ll be rewarded and will play. I guarantee you, they will be better than the guys who don’t want to be here. I don’t care how much better somebody else is. If he is not sacrificing for the betterment of the team as a whole, then we’ll move forward,” he said.