Go for Gold-CSB coach Charles Tiu knows that the ascent back to the top of the PBA D-League mountain is going to be harder the second time around.
“It will be a tough climb for us to win the championship again,” he admitted.
The Scratchers won the Foundation Cup last year with just six teams in the running.
This time, though, 20 teams make up the field, making the squad’s title retention dreams all the more difficult.
Tiu said preparation for the coming season hasn’t been the most smooth-sailing with players going down with illnesses and injuries ahead of the Feb. 14 curtain-raiser.
He was also away for 10 days due to his duty as coach of Mighty Sports that finished third in the Dubai tilt.
“We ve been getting injured a lot, players are getting sick and it hurt our preparation,” he said.
Despite the hardships, the youthful mentor remains optimistic about their campaign, knowing that Go for Gold-CSB knows what it takes to hoist the crown once again.
“The fact that we have a whole team intact, I think malaking bagay yun. We’re looking at this as a stepping stone for the NCAA,” he said.
Justin Gutang banners the squad made up of the core from the St. Benilde Blazers, while also bringing in sweet-shooting Fil-Am Roosevelt Adams in the fray.
“I think it’s gonna be a big challenge for him,” said Tiu of Gutang, who will be the heart and soul of the Scratchers.
“Before, nobody knew him. Now, na-scout na siya and he’s a marked man. It’s gonna be a real test for him. Hopefully, we improved his skills. I think he’ll be even better, but he has to mature also as a person and as a player.”