Chris Gavina, Rain or Shine’s newly promoted head coach, isn’t keen on introducing anything drastic to the squad.
In fact, he’s just hoping to make a few changes to what his predecessor Caloy Garcia had planned for the coming season.
“Stylistically, Coach Caloy really had a vision to open the court this year, using the athleticism and speed, the length of our guys,” Gavina said on the Coaches Unfiltered podcast Wednesday night.
“I really think I just keep that in mind and maybe go a little bit more dribble-drive right into our flow action, and kind of empower the guys with the decision-making,” he said. .
“We will leave [the players] let go a little.
Gavina believes the current Rain or Shine squad are more than capable of doing this, as the squad is made up of multiple players – young and tested – who can play in multiple positions.
“[T]The versatility of our players, their length – all of this will give us the opportunity to be creative with our rosters. We can go small ball. We can have a 6-foot-5 point guard in Gabe (Norwood). We also have a Mark Borboran who could play four or five for us. Norbert Torres is very mobile. Beau (Belga) is mobile, ”he said.
“We also have guys who are great with the open ground. We have (Rey) Nambatac, we have (Javee) Mocon, now we have our young guys (Vince) Tolentino and (Adrian) Wong who are extremely athletic players who could really finish, ”the 42-year-old mentor, whose led Kia to the franchise’s only quarterfinal, added.
Young Gavina has said he will always bet on sly Nambatac, and still hopes to look to veteran James Yap at the end of the playoffs.
And the pesky defense that painters are known for? It also remains intact.
Rain or Shine were by far the best defensive team during the 2020 Philippine Cup in the Clark Freeport bubble, normalizing 4.6 blocks and allowing just an average of 80.8 points, the two best scores in the league.
Garcia, according to Gavina, is an important part of it.
“Coach Caloy has really laid a great foundation for our defensive plans – the defensive rules that the guys follow,” he said.
“We’re probably one of the more unconventional teams where we jump anywhere – from the corner, from the wing. It’s a bit of the unpredictability of our defensive plans and it has kept the teams on their heels. It worked for us, ”added Gavina.
“Guys [bought] because that’s what Coach Caloy put in place, and I had the privilege of learning a lot.
If anything, Gavina’s other goal is to make sure the team doesn’t again fall into the perilous trap of complacency when it comes to conditioning, as the possibility of hosting another tournament at bubbles is not entirely excluded.
“We felt some of our guys needed to get in shape while they were there. And that’s one of the main things we’re taking in this season, ”said Gavina.
And with a deeper playoff streak in mind, Gavina is hopeful that Rain or Shine could find someone who could help the cause in the form of his fifth overall pick in the PBA Rookie Draft this 14. March.
“With the way our property, our management envision, we want to have a guy with a great personality. A very competitive [player],” he said.
“I think (Calvin) Oftana stands out. (Larry) Muyang is a hell of a talent. Mikey Williams, of course. We hope (Jason) Brickman might be a possible option for us. Jeremiah Gray too. If these Fil-Ams come in, it’s going to be a really deep draft for us.
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