February 21, 2018, 1:07 pm
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Kia thinking out of the box, says coach

MOST may think Kia’s announcement that it is shifting to a new attack mode is just a convenient excuse for trading away the rights to the top overall pick in the recent PBA draft is a lot of hogwash.

Not so for Picanto coach Chris Gavina, who said they intend to inculcate “inversion basketball” among their new offensive patterns for the coming PBA season.

“We deemed it time to think out of the box, play unconventional basketball,” Gavina told Malaya-Business Insight.

“We don’t have a real consistent post presence like some other teams so we plan on playing inversion basketball, like more post-up plays from our perimeter guys and our bigs playing on the outside.”

The said scheme is the main reason why Kia management traded their draft rights to San Miguel Beer, which the Beermen used to tab 6-foot-8 Fil-German Christian Standhardinger.

Kia officials led by governor Bobby Rosales and new team manager Joe Lipa had said Standhardinger would not have been a good fit for the new system. But veterans JayR Reyes and Ronald Tubid, plus sophomore Rashawn McCarthy and a future draft pick, would surely help in the new direction the Picanto are headed.

“For us to have three to four veteran players who we believe aren’t only talented but can also contribute to the development of the younger players, we believe that we can be very competitive,” Lipa explained in late October.

Gavina said the guidance of Lipa, a multi-titled coach in his time, helped influence Kia’s decision to go ahead with the system switch.

“We all know that coach Joe is a major proponent of motion offense and it should be the most efficient way for us, considering the material we have right now,” explained Gavina.

Gavina also said a lot more work has to be done before they can get to where they want, but his new-look team is slowly getting there.

“I like the defensive effort and I like the rotational schemes we have right now,” said Gavina. “We’ve become a faster-paced team so we’re still going to play an up-tempo game. But it’s still a work in progress.”

Gone from the team which wound up with a 6-27 record last season are LA Revilla, Jason Ballesteros, Jason Deutchmann, Jonas Nimes, Rey Guevarra, Nico Salva and Nico Elorde, but Gavina feels his 14-man crew at the moment can still get the job done.

“We need another big man, that’s why we’re inviting some free agents to tryouts,” he related. “But if we couldn’t get one we’d still go with what we have right now.”

To speed up team chemistry which should help the process, Kia did an early team-building in Batangas over the weekend and has scheduled more tune-up games apart from the one it already had last week.

The PBA’s 43rd season starts Dec. 17.
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