Sumalinog brings veteran smarts to Cignal | Inquirer Sports

Sumalinog brings veteran smarts to Cignal

/ 01:16 AM June 02, 2017

Oping Sumalinog. PBA IMAGES

Learning from the likes of Jayson Castro and Ranidel de Ocampo, Oping Sumalinog wants to impart the knowledge he gained in the two years he spent with TNT KaTropa in his stint with Cignal HD in the 2017 PBA D-League Foundation Cup.

“It was a huge learning experience for me even though I was just a practice player there for two years,” he said in Filipino. “Not many people see me work every day, but I take my job personally and I really love basketball. Day-in and day-out, that’s what I do, so as much as possible, I really wanted to learn from veterans like Jayson.”

On Thursday, Sumalinog showed that he’s more than just a defensive stopper, going 3-of-3 from beyond the arc to lead the Hawkeyes with 15 points in their 89-63 win over Tanduay.

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“He’s been practicing his three-point shots,” said coach Boyet Fernandez of the former Ateneo Blue Eagle. “Oping always comes in early to take some extra shots. I’m happy that he made his shots today. Oping is one of my stoppers so if gets those points, it’s just a plus for us.”

As an ex-pro, all the 6-foot-2 Sumalinog wants is to display his veteran know-hows with Cignal, noting that his leadership is one of the reasons why Fernandez signed him up for the conference.

“I want to contribute, especially I’m one of the veterans here. I also want to show leadership to the younger teammates I have who are eyeing to be drafted. I want to share to them what I learned in the PBA,” he said.

That’s why Sumalinog didn’t hesitate to take responsibility for the Hawkeyes’ 86-84 loss to Flying V last Thursday, where the squad lost hold of an eight-point lead in the last four minutes.

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“I own what happened to us against Flying V. I felt I didn’t contribute as much which is why we lost. I look at it as a wake-up call because this is a D-League and there’s a lot of good players and teams here. We can’t take anyone for granted,” he said.

With Cignal back on the winning track, Sumalinog is optimistic that this good run will continue in the games to come, which in turn, could help the younger players boost their draft stocks while also pushing the veterans to get closer to another crack in the PBA.

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“I’m grabbing every opportunity that I get. I know different players have different stories. There are players who go to the path that I took, who became practice players to PBA teams. I know it’s an unconventional path, but I learned there that you really have to work hard for everything. You need to have the patience. I know my time will come, so hopefully, we’ll be able to sustain the way we play,” he said.

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TAGS: 2017 PBA D-League Foundation Cup, Cignal HD Hawkeyes, Oping Sumalinog

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