Having Senator Manny Pacquiao, its designated playing-coach back in the fold is an encouraging sign for Mahindra.
Seeing the Floodbuster struggle to deal with San Miguel Beer which hardly utilized prized center June Mar Fajardo on Wednesday night is nothing less but a disappointment for the “People’s Champ.”
With the result already beyond doubt in the final canto, Pacquiao immediately headed to the exit of Cuneta Astrodome before Mahindra absorbed an 80-109 dismantling at the hands of the powerhouse SMB side in the 2017 PBA Commissioner’s Cup.
And Floodbuster acting coach Chris Gavina could simply understand.
“Who wouldn’t be disappointed after this performance. We didn’t even give ourselves a fighting chance tonight,” he lamented after the Floodbuster trailed by as many as 34 points in the fourth canto and, in the process, absorbed their fourth consecutive setback and sixth overall in seven starts.
Although the 6-foot-10 Fajardo went scoreless and played only for nine minutes, the Floodbuster still found the Beermen an unstoppable force right from the get go, with their rivals showing efficiency on both ends on the way to a 55-31 lead at the break.
Not even Pacquiao’s instructions among the Floodbuster could turn the tide, rued Gavina.
“He was really stressing on the guys to attack the basket because we keep shooting threes when we’re 0-of-16 so at some point as a player I have to do something else if I’m not hitting jump shots,” he said.
“You gotta figure that out. We’re telling them go to the basket and look for opportunities to drive and kick and get to the foul line.”
Gavina added: “Like I keep telling our guys, me as a coach, I win practices but players win games. I’m not on the court. It’s up to them. When they’re on the court, they have to execute the game plan or hit big shots but we didn’t do that tonight.”
Pacquiao’s presence, however, should eventually give the Floodbuster the needed boost, according to veteran gunner Gary David.
“Ibang klase ‘yung feeling na andyan si Boss,” said the 6-foot-2 gunner, who finished with 13 points off the bench.
“Kaya lang natalo tapos tambak pa. Pero ‘yung support niya bago pa man kami mag-start, ayun ‘yung nakakataas ng morale.”
Gavina is hoping the Floodbuster will pick up the pieces quick and move on ahead of matchup with fellow struggling GlobalPort on Sunday at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.
“We’re all disappointed but we can’t keep our head down too long especially not with a game three days away,” he said.
“If we go out like this again on Sunday, the results might be ugly. I hope these guys are challenged. I’m not the giving up type and i’ll play with six guys if I have to as long as they show me they’re willing to fight.”
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