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PBA: Kia players’ lack of urgency criticized

Postgame interviews have become like a therapeutic session for Kia coach Chris Gavina, usually starting off with a lengthy description of not only his team’s pathetic performance in the ongoing PBA Governors’ Cup, but also its lack of interest in arresting such mentality.

TNT's Ranidel de Ocampo (right) and Anthony Semerad (left) double-team Meralco's Reynel Hugnatan for a steal during the PBA Governors' Cup at Smart Araneta Coliseum, September 6, 2017 (Rio Leonelle Deluvio)

TNT’s Ranidel de Ocampo (right) and Anthony Semerad (left) double-team Meralco’s Reynel Hugnatan for a steal during the PBA Governors’ Cup at Smart Araneta Coliseum, September 6, 2017 (Rio Leonelle Deluvio)

“I’m tired of this (expletive),” Gavina told reporters Friday, when his Picanto were handed a 118-97 beatdown by the Blackwater Elite at the Ynares Center in Antipolo City.

The score didn’t reflect how bad of the Picanto played. They trailed 70-31 at the half and once trailed by 49 in the third before the Elite put their guard down a bit to avoid further humiliation.

Gavina, tasked to call the shots for Kia with designated playing coach Manny Pacquiao dealing with numerous commitments mostly in the Senate, made sure he gave his team another tongue lashing in the locker room afterwards.

“I could take losing by a hundred if we came out with a level of urgency and spirit that I know these guys are playing their heart out. But to come out there and show a lack of gratitude at the position they’re in and taking this position for granted, hell no. Let’s just be men about stuff and you will be dealt with. I’m tired of being nice,” he said.

Kia remains as the only team without a victory this conference, losing all eight games. Overall, the Picanto have dropped nine straight dating back to the final game of the Commissioner’s Cup when they were known as the Mahindra Floodbuster.

The Picanto are on the brink of becoming the third team this season to lose at least 10 straight games, something that the league has never seen in recent memory. Another loss would put them in a dubious distinction alongside the NLEX Road Warriors and the Alaska Aces, their coaches having endured plenty of sleepless nights.

Yeng Guiao had hoped for a strong start after joining NLEX from Rain or Shine this season, but lost 16 of his first 18 games in charge, including 13 straight defeats bridging and Philippine Cup and Commissioner’s Cup.

At one point of the skid, Guiao said: “Kulang na lang magpapako ako sa krus par mag-iba yung fortunes namin.” The fiery mentor, obviously, was joking but he soon made key trades that resulted in NLEX’s current rise as a potential title contender in the Governors’ Cup, winning seven of nine games.

Alaska recently snapped a 14-game skid with an out-of-town victory over San Miguel over the weekend. But the manner of how the Aces went on a lousy stretch was stunning.

The Aces went 4-0 to start the Commissioner’s Cup but lost their last eight games, including a playoff loss to the GlobalPort Batang Pier for the final quarterfinals berth.

Coach Alex Compton and Alaska’s misfortunes continued this conference, dropping six in a row, some of which decided down the stretch.

When the Aces beat the Beermen, 90-79, in Angeles City, Pampanga, Compton felt like he had taken the monkey off his back as he was greeted by his counterparts in the customary postgame handshake.

“It was definitely nice to finally get a win, it has been so long and we have had so many close games that we have lost,” Compton said.

Incidentally, the Picanto will face Compton and the Aces this Sunday, and Gavina can only hope his team can finally end the agony of defeat.