While most of his San Miguel Beer teammates were already packing their things up at the sidelines, veteran wingman Gary David stayed on the court, shooting free throws while being assisted by a Beermen utility man.
The 6-foot-2 David, 37, is having a conscious effort to make an extra work, knowing San Miguel Beer cannot afford to rest on its laurels against Rain or Shine in a best-of-five PBA Commissioners Cup semifinals series that gets going on Sunday at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.
“Siyempre bakbakan ‘to. Unahan talaga kasi short series lang, best-of-five, kaya kung sino makauna dito, mataas na ang percentage manalo sa series,” David told FOX Sports at the end of San Miguel Beer’s practice on Friday afternoon at the Greenmeadows Subdivision gym in Libis, Quezon City.
David will be making his first semifinals appearance with the Beermen, who survived the Star Hotshots 103-99 in their knockout battle last Wednesday night and earned the right to face the Elasto Painters in the semis round for the third straight conference.
And the Dinalupihan, Bataan native admitted he is willing to do whatever it takes to clinch what seems to be an elusive pro league title.
“Ang mindset ko, kapag ginamit ako ni coach, always ready lang ako,” said David. “Nandu’n pa rin naman ako sa adjustment period. But as a veteran , kailangan hindi ‘yung team ang nag-a-adjust sa akin kundi ako.”
“Ang mahirap lang sa sitwasyon ko, kung kailan playoffs na, doon lang ako nakakapag-jel sa kanila. Kaya kailangan makapag-adjust agad ako para maka-catch up. So far, so good naman. Nakukuha ko naman dahan-dahan.”
While he’s making a steady progress in terms of familiarizing himself to the team’s plays, David stressed the Beermen should be more prepared, especially on the defensive side, against the Elasto Painters who considers a ‘deep and talented squad.’
“Kailangan mas solid kami ngayon. Any player na huhugutin ni coach (Leo Austria), kailangan ready talaga dahil ‘yung Rain or Shine, ganu’n na rin ang nilalaro under coach Yeng (Guiao). Malalim rin talaga ‘yung bench nila.”
And when the need to play as a stopper arise, David, a four-time pro league scoring champion, said he’s more than willing to do so.
“Mas naka-focus talaga kami sa depensa against Rain or Shine. They are best on offense and they are also good on defense. Kaya kailangan ganu’n rin ang mindset namin. Kailangan dumepensa kami para makasiguro sa finals at manalo sa series na ‘to,” he said. – By Jerome Lagunzad
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