Rookies to play big roles for Elasto Painters
Rain or Shine coach Caloy Garcia knows his charges are capable of going toe-to-toe against the PBA heavyweights, that’s why he’s been busy this offseason shaping his Elasto Painters to do just that and reach the next level.
“Right now, we just want to get the players jelled, especially since we have four new players coming in,” he said shortly after the team’s practice on Thursday at Reyes Gym in Mandaluyong.
Garcia is hoping that his four rookies—all recently signed to two-year contracts—absorb Rain or Shine’s system quickly:
“We wanted young legs as we hope to be more of a running team this season.”
Leading the bunch of new faces is Prince Rivero, who was picked seventh overall in the draft. Clint Doliguez, Adrian Wong and Vince Tolentino are the other rookies who made the roster.
And Garcia likes what he’s seeing.
“We started practicing Jan. 6,” he said. “And they’ve been performing. They’ve been adapting rather quickly.”
Just as he pins his team’s hopes on his rookies, Garcia knows he will also need the same zest and grit from his holdovers: “Last year, we were able to compete even without Raymond [Almazan]. Norbert [Torres], Jewel [Ponferrada], Beau [Belga] and Gabe [Norwood] provided what we needed.”
Rain or Shine won eight of its 11 games in the elimination phase of the Philippine Cup but fell short against Magnolia in their semifinal duel that went the full seven-game distance. This season will be ushered in by the Philippine Cup on March 1.