Bright Akhuetie’s absence in the final canto might have brought even more darkness for the Perpetual Help Altas but Coach Jimwell Gican revealead he just had to choose a lesser evil.
“Hindi pa kasi sya 100% ayaw naming i-gamble yung health nya,” Gican told FOX Sports after their 88-70 loss to host San Beda Red Lions on Tuesday.
And for him, it is safer to lose his prized import for a game than for the whole tournament.
“Okay lang sana kung 100% sya, sige kaso hindi pa. Mahaba pa ang tournament. Marami pang lalaruin,” Gican explained.
Akhuetie suffered a knee injury just weeks before the tournament started, and until now, he’s yet to complete his recovery and get his full strength back.
Despite his limited mobility, Akhuetie did not miss from the field, hitting 5 of his shots for 13 points and collared 6 rebounds, in just 16 minutes of play.
For Gican, now is the perfect timing for others to show up and prove their worth in the team.
“Tsaka gusto naming bigyan ng opportunity yung ibang players, ito na yung time nila para magpakitang gilas sila,” he said.
The Altas are now 2-2 and lurking at the middle of the pack.
Gican is still searching for what’s lacking in the team to be able to compete in the league’s best of the best.
“Defense talaga. Eversince, yun yung strength namin. Pero marami pa talaga kailangang i-work out,” he reiterated as his wards are yet to be with Bright, and Prince Eze at full health.
“Pero sa nangyayari ngayon, in the past games, actually, hindi ibang teams ang kalaban namin kundi yung core namin kasi maraming injured players,” Gican concluded, referring to another hobbled cager Eze who is suffering from a sprained knee as well.
Eze played just 10 minutes and contributed 2 points and 4 rebounds.
His hobbled imports were outplayed by San Beda’s Donald Tankoua who went off for 20 points and 10 rebounds on top of 2 shot blocks. – By John Bryan Ulanday