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PBA on Tour a good learning experience for Del Rosario

While the majority of the PBA teams used the just-concluded On Tour as a chance to give seldom-used players and potential rookies a break, Barangay Ginebra assistant coach Richard del Rosario took the preseason games as an opportunity to learn after taking the head coaching post from Tim Cone.

There was nothing at stake in the PBA on Tour to begin with. But having learned the value of giving one's best from Cone, the pro league's all-time winning coach, del Rosario started the On Tour with a clear challenge to himself and to the remaining Ginebra players.

Barangay Ginebra assistant coach Richard del Rosario PBA PHOTO
Barangay Ginebra assistant coach Richard del Rosario PBA PHOTO

You see, Ginebra didn't have its veteran stars, who were either playing for Gilas Pilipinas or shut down in the long offseason to rest. Yet, del Rosario made sure every player fielded in will not short change the PBA fans, who would watch the On Tour games.

“When we started, our target was really just to see growth with our players,” del Rosario told the Manila Times. “I think we were able to accomplish that and we saw how they were able to develop different facets of their game and gain much needed confidence. We were really pleased with their development throughout this tour.”

Ginebra didn't have reigning league Most Valuable Player Scottie Thompson, Jamie Malonzo and veteran slotman Japeth Aguilar, who were all part of the Gilas pool.

On the other hand, veterans Christian Standhardinger and Stanley Pringle were given the much-needed break after the long grind from the previous season that saw Ginebra capture the Commissioner's Cup title and a runner-up finish in the Governors' Cup.

Still, even with a watered-down roster, the 52-year-old Ginebra assistant mentor reminded his players to play with all their hearts, knowing that such mindset will be beneficial for them in the long run.

“From the beginning I told them this, people will say that these games are non-bearing, but for us the games should matter,” he stressed. “It matters because they are not playing just for the present moment but for the future of their careers. It matters because their families who are praying for their success are watching. It matters because whatever they do will always have consequences.”

Filipino-American guard Jeremiah Gray showed the brightest among the Ginebra players after 14.6 points, 8.4 rebounds and 4.8 assists.

The high-flying Gray, however, suffered what would turn out to be a dislocated right knee during Ginebra's 91-85 win over NLEX at the close of the On Tour last Sunday.

Other Ginebra shock troopers during the regular season, who played stellar roles in the On Tour include Von Pessumal, Aljon Mariano, Sidney Onwubere, Nard Pinto and Raymund Aguilar, who all averaged double figures in scoring.

The Gin Kings finished tied fifth to sixth spots with Converge FiberXers in the PBA On Tour after finishing with identical 6-5 records.

“Personally, I enjoyed guiding our players and see them grow,” shared del Rosario, who as an assistant coach, has won a total of 12 PBA championships.

The former role player, who played for Mobiline, Sta. Lucia and Alaska in a seven-year pro career, said he enjoyed being a head coach again, even if it's just for 11 games. He hopes that the coaching lessons he acquired during the exhibition series will serve him in good stead once the PBA's Season 48 rolls by this October.

“It's been a long time since I took on the role as head coach and I learned a lot from this experience. I also felt personal growth that I hope would be beneficial to our team once Coach Tim gets back.”

Credit belongs to : www.manilatimes.net

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