Picanto’s Tubid says they’ll give their rivals hell
By Jonas Terrado
Games Today (The Arena, San Juan)
4:15 p.m. – NLEX vs Kia
7 p.m. – Magnolia vs Alaska
The Kia Picanto get their chance at proving critics wrong for throwing away at the chance of having Christian Standhardinger when they face the NLEX Road Warriors today in a rare PBA Philippine Cup doubleheader at The Arena in San Juan.
Kia became an object of ridicule this past offseason after trading the No. 1 overall pick to San Miguel for Ronald Tubid, Jay-R Reyes, Rashawn McCarthy and a future selection, allowing to Beermen to select the Fil-German wonder in the October draft.
After reasoning their decision as a way of playing “unconventional basketball,” the Picanto look to show that they can compete in the season-opening conference, beginning with the 4:15 p.m. match with Road Warriors.
Attention will mostly center on the pro debut of Kiefer Ravena, taken second by NLEX in the draft.
Ravena and Kia’s debut is likely to overshadow the other game set at 7 p.m. between the Magnolia Hotshots and Alaska Aces. The Hotshots launch their bid to reach the finals after close calls in all three conferences last season while the Aces aim to bounce back from a disastrous 2017 season.
While Kia is labeled as one of the teams that may struggle this conference and perhaps pay the consequence of giving Standhardinger away like a Christmas present, Tubid warned rival teams not to take them for granted.
“I don’t care what happened to the trade. As long as my team kami, walang problema,” Tubid said. “Wala naman kaming papatunayan e, basta one thing lang na masasabi ko is wag silang mag-relax sa amin, may paglalagyan sila.”
Such warning will have to come with action as Kia’s unheralded players will have to double their effort to defy low expectations.
Reden Celda, part of last season’s All-Rookie Team, could enter the season carrying a heavy load, holdovers Jackson Corpuz, Philip Paniamogan, Bong Galanza and Mark Yee are expected to play big minutes while adding another set of newcomers in rookies Jon Gabriel and Dan Sara, Jan Jamon and veteran Dylan Ababou.