Leo Isaac wants strong start for Blackwater in Malaysian tourney

PENANG- Blackwater coach Leo Isaac wants the Elite to come out strong from the get-go when they kick off their 2016 Penang Chief Minister Cup title campaign on Friday against Chinese Taipei’s Chien Hsin University Science and Technology at the Han Chiang Indoor Stadium.

Isaac admitted he’s clueless as to how the Taiwanese club team will play, though he expects their opponent to field in at least one 6-5 American import in their 6 p.m. encounter.

“Gulatan ito eh, lalo na sa first game na hindi mo alam or di mo pa na-scout ang kalaban mo, so bukas (Friday) kumbaga, buwe-buweluhan ko kaagad, then later on sa next coming games, dun na ako pe-pacing,” Isaac told FOX Sports on the eve of their opening match against Chinese Taipei.

Unlike the team’s past 2 trips to Malaysia, which ended with a pair of runner-up finishes due to an undersized frontcourt, this time around, Isaac has a lot of big men to rely on.

Isaac said he expects the 6-foot-8 JP Erram to anchor the team’s defense, with young, but scrappy big men like Kyle Pascual, Frank Golla and veterans Bam Gamalinda and Gilbert Bulawan to help out on the defensive end.

“Makikita mo na iyung gusto naming ma-emphasize dito is team defense,” explained Isaac, whose team is playing without an import.

“And tallest player namin si Erram na 6-8, eh yung makaharap niya, paano niya mako–contain iyun (imports) without getting help from his teammates, so ganun ang gusto namin mangyari,” he added.

After Friday’s game against the Taiwanese, Blackwater will face Thailand Pea Basketball Club on Saturday (5 p.m.), followed by China’s Zhejiang Chouzhou Commercial Bank on Sunday (4 p.m.).

Blackwater then clashes with India’s Karnataka State on Monday, 5 p.m., before winding up its round-robin assignment against 2016 Asean Basketball League champion Westports Malaysia Dragons on Tuesday (4 p.m.).

The team with the best record in the 5-day tournament will win the championship and will bring home RM10,000 (Php 120,000), while the runner-up RM5,000 (Php 60,000). – By Richard Dy

Follow this writer on Twitter: @richava

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