Gary David hangs on to the hope that Powerade Tigers will stay intact
MANILA, Philippines—Fresh from his stunning emergence as the newest Philippine Basketball Association superstar, Gary David is focused, as he should be, on picking up from where he and the Powerade Tigers left off.
That starting point is the recent Philippine Cup, where David torched nets and burned defenders in powering the Tigers to a runnerup finish behind Talk ‘N Text, well ahead of other teams who were supposed to be far better than they were.
The continuation of Powerades journey should be the Commissioner’s Cup, where an NBA-caliber import plugs the hole that the Texters repeatedly ripped open during the Finals series.
“Wala namang mawawala samin [we’re not going to lose any players],” David told Inquirer.net the night the Tigers were reduced to second-placers. “Baka madagdagan pa dahil sa import, yun talaga butas namin.”
If only that were all true.
Instead of pushing forward, the Tigers are now in a swirl of controversy, with uncertainty tainting their preparations for the Commissioner’s Cup. Although the sale of Powerade by the Coca-Cola franchise to San Miguel Corp. has been officially put on hold, the Tigers are still at a loss as to whether Marcio Lassiter, who formed a deadly partnership with David at the wing, will remain with the squad or not.
Powerade and Petron Blaze have consummated a trade that will send Lassiter to the Boosters in exchange for Nonoy Baclao and Rey Guevarra, high-pick rookies buried deep in the Boosters’ rotation. The deal, though, is hanging on the approval of PBA commissioner Chito Salud, who has the right to veto trades if he deems it unfair.
“I felt disappointed when I first heard about it,” said David about the looming deal. “Kailangan naming tanggapin dahil professionals kami at dumarting yung bagay na wala kaming kontrol.”
David’s frustration basically centers on one thing: Why break apart something good? Why fix something that ain’t broke?
“Medyo nakaka-disappoint kasi maganda yung samahan at takbo ng team tapos nagkaroon ng issue,” said David.
The Powerade model was perfect. There were no overlapping of responsibilities or struggle for power within the team. David, day in and day out, did what he does best for Powerade. Lassiter not only provided David with offensive relief, but the former national team star also shouldered the heavy lifting on defense. Jvee Casio completed the troika of wingmen that served as Powerade’s wrecking ball.
So if David had a choice?
“Hindi ko babaguhin [yung line up], siyempre,” admitted David. “Kung may babaguhin man, dagdag lang siguro.”
Naturally. Because if the trade gets approved–and it continues to look like it will–David will feel most of the impact. While Guevarra can provide offense for the Tigers, he doesn’t attract the same kind of defensive attention as Lassiter.
“Siyempre mahihirapan ng konti, dahil sisikip nanaman yung depensa pag nawala si Marcio [Lassiter],” David admits.
Even head coach Bo Perasol, who had total faith in Lassiter last conference, recognizes what loss the rookie would be to the team. But, with the cards that they’re dealt with, believes the team would recover and even be better.
“Initially it’s going to be a loss because there’s already chemistry. But in the long run, it’s going to work for us,” Perasol told Inquirer.net shortly after a quick practice Thursday morning.
“From that trade, we’re going to get two pieces out of one. We gave Marcio so much trust, and anybody of the caliber that we’re going to get will also get that kind of confidence and they’re going to shine as well,” added Perasol.
The bright spot? The addition of Baclao bolsters Powerade’s frontline beyond the Commissioner’s Cup.
No matter what happens, though, Perasol said “everybody is ready. We’ve been preparing [for what ever comes up.”
In the meantime, David will work with the notion that Marcio is staying.
“Hangga’t andito si Marcio at hindi pa natutuloy yung trade, talagang ipakita lang namin na maganda yung combination namin at wala samin yung nagsasapawan,” said David. “Yung combination naming tatlo [David, Casio and Lassiter], every time nandyan kami sa loob, maganda yung pinapakita namin.”
And who knows?
“Kaya baka siguro magkaroon ng reason na wag na kami paghiwalayin,” David finished.
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