Ariel inspired by Casio

SPORTING CHANCE - Joaquin M. Henson - The Philippine Star

New Blackwater coach Ariel Vanguardia said yesterday he has a lot of surprises for PBA fans when the Governors Cup opens Dec. 8. First, a rejuvenated Jvee Casio. Second, a slimmed down, totally focused Andre Paras. Third, an import who plays like Eugene Phelps but is a sharper outside shooter. Fourth, a fighting unit thats out to break the teams 19-game losing streak.

I told the guys lets make new memories together and throw away the bad memories,” said Vanguardia. “Ive never been as excited to coach a team. Im actually inspired by Jvee. Its a blessing we got him in the trade because we were just after a big man. Wholl say no to a Jvee? When we play Jvee and Baser (Amer) together at practice, bihira sila matalo sa scrimmage. Parang nabuhay si Jvee, its a revival. Both Jvee and Baser are excellent decision-makers. I dont know whom to start at point guard between them, matchups will decide. Jvees still quick, sharp, very competitive. Hulog ng langit. Hes a leader, like an LA Tenorio and hell make Baser even better.”

Vanguardia said Frank Golla has been cut, David Semerad is out for six months recovering from back surgery and Kelly Nabong is expected to complete his rehab from foot and knee issues in the middle of January. “I cant wait for Kelly to come back and team up with our import,” said Vanguardia. “Maybe, if we pick up a few wins before he returns, we can make a push for the playoffs.”

Vanguardia said management is 100 percent behind making the team a contender. “I want to test the guys so were playing tune-ups,” he said. “We did an overnight team-bonding in Batangas. Jacob (Munez) and Johnson (Martinez) are hands-on managers so they take care of us. (Team owner) Boss Dio (Dioceldo Sy) and (PBA Governor) Boss Silliman (Sy) are solidly behind us. Mga young players, sanay sa talo but sa practice, palaban sila. This is a new team, more than half didnt play for us in the last conference. Will we break our losing streak? Dapat. My goal is to try to win every quarter, the first, second, third and fourth then before you know it, were winning games. I dont want to put pressure on the guys, I just want them to believe we can win and enjoy the process.”

Vanguardia said Carl Bryan Cruz and Mark Acuno are no longer practicing. Theyre in the process of being traded to TNT. Two free agents he picked up are Jhong Baloria and Val Chauca. “Balorias gutsy and hell make the lineup,” said Vanguardia. “Jvee, Barkley Ebona, Will McAloney, Mike Ayonayon and Rashawn McCarty are now with us. Jvee or Baser will start at point, Rahsawn at two, Ed Daquioag or Josh Torralba at three, Barkley or McAloney at four then our import.”

Jaylen Bond, 28, is Blackwaters import and hes been measured at 6-5 10/16. “Hes a quality, high-level import,” said Vanguardia. “Hes stocky, bulky like Beau Belga. Hes like Karl-Anthony Towns in the NBA. Hell anchor our team defense, hes an inside presence and the bonus is he shoots from the perimeter. Hes got a great attitude. Hes coming from a cold climate in Philadelphia so hes adjusting to our humid weather. Were practicing twice a day at the Aero Gym in Quezon City. We hope to create some surprises this conference.”

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