After a slow 1-3 start in the ongoing PBA Philippine Cup, reigning champion Purefoods Star played like a team on a mission.
You can see it from the player’s body language.
Every Purefoods player on the floor was talking, moving, cutting towards the basket and hustling on defense in the Hotshots’ convincing 92-76 demolition of NLEX on Friday.
James Yap was back to his old, deadly self. If he wasn’t attacking the basket and gliding for a one-handed, twisting shot; the two-time league MVP would be kicking the ball out for an open Peter June Simon.
And we all know what Simon can bring – his medium-range jumpers.
Even Joe Devance played inspired basketball, leading the Hotshots’ red-hot first half, before allowing Simon to finish off the Road Warriors with his jump shots in the endgame.
Although the Hotshots are still below the standings with their 2-3 record, is it safe to say they are ready for the highly-anticipated turnaround this season?
Here’s what Simon said: “Nagkaroon din kami ng sense of urgency, kasi ito na naman, 1-3 ang start, eh di naman puwede i-magic lang uli gaya last conference (last season’s Philippine Cup). Eh single round lang this conference kaya ang target namin, kahit nasa gitna lang kami.”
The “Scoring Apostle” said considering that Alaska, Ginebra, Rain or Shine and San Miguel already gained a huge head start over them, it is imperative that they stick to the one thing they do best: play the triangle offense.
“Huwag kami dapat umalis sa triangle. Minsan kasi nagka-kanya kami kaya kami nahihirapan eh yung ang magandang nangyari (against NLEX), bumalik na kami sa dating kami, saka ipapakita pa rin naming hungry kami at dedepensa kami,” he added.
The Hotshots have three “light” opponents and three playoff-bound teams as their opponents in the last half of the single-round eliminations.
Blackwater, KIA and Barako, three teams currently occupying the last three spots in the standings, along with Meralco, Rain or Shine and Talk ‘N Text.
At this point, it is hard to say what will happen if Purefoods will end up with five or six wins in the eliminations, although judging from their past accomplishments under coach Tim Cone, I should say, the road to the all-Filipino conference title still passes through the Hotshots.