Blackwater gets ‘fresh start’ under new coach Aris Dimaunahan
After another uneventful campaign in the Philippine Cup, Blackwater gets to start over under the tutelage of Aris Dimaunahan, who looking to make a good account of himself in his first head coaching stint.
The Elite wound up in the bottom of the standings after finishing with a 2-9 record this conference but they remain in high spirits with an opportunity to redeem themselves in the Commissioner’s Cup next month.
“Regardless of what happened last conference, it’s a new start. With coach Aris being here, it feels like a fresh start, a new beginning and that’s always exciting and I think everybody is excited,” said Blackwater captain Mike DiGregorio after the Elite’s first practice with Dimaunahan at the helm.
The 41-year-old Dimaunahan, a former PBA veteran who played for Barangay Ginebra in his first three seasons in the league, aims to maximize his team’s fresh legs by playing a quick pace on offense while also putting premium on defense.
“The first thing I looked at was where we at on the defensive end and I saw that were dead last in the league last conference and defense would be our top priority,” said Dimaunahan, who replaced Bong Ramos.
“We have young guys here and we’re looking to play a controlled high octane offense. The goal is to use our youth to our advantage.”
Tasked to keep Blackwater’s engine running is DiGregorio, who has been on a steady rise.
Also in the fold are promising rookies Abu Tratter and Paul Desiderio and hot-shooting swingman Allein Maliksi.
Ray Parks, Blackwater’s second overall pick in the draft four months ago, is also expected to join the team for the next conference.
The Elite eyes to finally silence their critics and DiGregorio believes they have a good chance of doing so next conference.
“[We want to prove that] number one, we’re not losers,” the 27-year-old DiGregorio said.
“I don’t think we’re losers. I don’t believe that. Regardless of what the result showed in the Philippine Cup, that’s one of three conferences and I feel like we’re going to put in the work to prove our doubters wrong.”
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