PENANG- Consider it as his “second life” in the PBA.
After averaging just 6.7 minutes per contest in his rookie season, Roi Sumang now has a chance to start anew in his fledgling PBA career with the young Blackwater franchise.
Just last month, the pint-sized Sumang joined the Elite as part of a 3-team trade that also involved his former team GlobalPort and Mahindra.
Selected 26th overall in last year’s PBA Draft, Sumang couldn’t get his professional basketball career going from the start, owing to the Batang Pier’s deep guard rotation that included 2015 Rookie of the Year Stanley Pringle, Terrence Romeo, Jeric Fortuna, Paolo Taha and Fil-Am Jonathan Uyloan.
At Blackwater, Sumang sure has to compete once more for playing time, owing to the bevy of guards in the team that includes veteran playmaker Mike Cortez, Jerick Canada, Raphael Reyes, rookie Almond Vosotros and Juami Tiongson.
The team’s incoming Asian import Imad Qahwash for the season-ending PBA Governors Cup will also make things more difficult for Sumang since the Palestinian-Jordanian playmaker will get the lion’s share of minutes on the floor.
Still, the 25-year-old former University of the East point guard chose to look at the positive side of things, vowing to work even harder as he tries to not just make a dent in his PBA career, but more importantly, contribute to Blackwater’s playoff target.
“Kailangan ko mag-trabaho at pati na rin mga kasamahan ko, kailangan namin magtulungan para sa team,” said Sumang, who averaged just 2.2 points, 0.8 rebound and 0.6 assist in 16 games with GlobalPort during the first 2 conferences this season.
But other than the usual sound bite of hard work and the importance of being a team player, Sumang stressed that he’s not just an afterthought in the PBA.
“Kailangan ko mag-trabaho saka maipakita ko sa mga teammates and coaches na deserve ko maglaro sa PBA,” he said. “At kahit anong round ka pa ma-draft, hindi naman iyun ang basehan para makapaglaro ka sa PBA.”
Blackwater coach Leo Isaac sees Sumang more as a “jewel in the rough”.
“May pinapakita naman, but we just have to correct more of his tendencies when he’s in tight situations,” said Isaac, a former starting point guard for crowd favorite Ginebra during the late 1980s.
“We have to make adjustments to his playing style dahil ang gusto ko eh yung guwardiya na alisto, heady point guard na talagang wala siya sa sitwasyon na alanganin but on top of the situation,” he added. – By Richard Dy
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