Saturday, December 24, 2011

B-Meg Will Be Back with a Bang, Raymundo Said

MANILA, Philippines - For B-Meg star forward Kerby Raymundo, losing to Powerade in the PBA Philippine Cup quarterfinals was a painful blow but the early vacation gives him time to focus on helping out those who were badly affected by the flash floods in Cagayan de Oro and Iligan City as his Christmas mission.

“It was difficult to accept losing at first,” said Raymundo yesterday. “After we were eliminated, I felt bad for two days then I realized it was time to move on. We’re going to bounce back for sure. We’re getting more and more comfortable with coach Tim’s (Cone) system, just a little more adjustment and we’ll be okay. I really admire coach Tim for apologizing to management, our team and the B-Meg fans. I think it was us players who should apologize, not coach Tim, because it was our defense that broke down in the end. It had nothing to do with coaching. But that’s the mark of a good coach. He took the blame and shielded us.”

Raymundo, 30, said he never expected to go out in the quarters. “Our expectations were high,” he went on. “We were hoping to make it to the finals. Our No. 1 seeding didn’t pressure us. We didn’t even think of it in defending our twice-to-beat advantage against Powerade. In Game 1, we were too confident. We thought we would win easy. In Game 2, we fought it out but Powerade played incredible basketball. We challenged their three-point shooters but their shots still fell in. It was their time. It was destiny. Gary (David), (Marcio) Lassiter and Josh (Vanlandingham) delivered – they played so well. That happens in basketball. It’s a reality that we must face. In the 2006 Philippine Cup, we were down 1-3 to coach Tim and Alaska in the semifinals but came back to win three straight then beat Red Bull for the championship. It was our time before. Now, it’s the time for others to shine.”

Raymundo said the early exits of B-Meg and Barangay Ginebra are signs of the times. “It’s good for the PBA and the fans,” he noted. “There is more parity in the league. Rain Or Shine and Powerade used to be in the bottom of the standings. Now, one of them is going to the finals. I’m happy for them. They used to get knocked out of contention early but now, they’re getting the chance to win the championship. It only goes to show that in the PBA, you can never be sure who’s going to win or lose. The competition is very balanced and that makes for a lot more exciting games.”

As for the semifinals, Raymundo said the Rain Or Shine-Powerade series is a toss-up and picked Petron to beat Talk ‘N’ Text, more because the Tropang Texters are hobbled by injuries. “Both series are exciting,” he said. “The Rain Or Shine-Powerade series is 50-50. They’re playing so well that you can’t tell who’s favored. Talk ‘N’ Text has a lot of injuries but if they get healthy, their series is also 50-50 with Petron.”

Raymundo said B-Meg resumes practice on Jan. 9 with the Llamados’ import arriving Jan. 15 at the earliest. “I was told our import is 6-10, a legitimate big man who plays inside,” he continued. “According to coach Tim, I’ll be playing wing. Joe (De Vance) will stay at three, Ping (Marc Pingris) will play four and Rafi (Reavis), Yancy (de Ocampo) and our import will rotate at five. I’ll play three and also four. As a team, we could use a guard stopper, someone to limit wings like Gary. We use P. J. (Simon) as our stopper but he’s more suited for a role like James’ (Yap) because he’s a scorer. Roger (Yap) also helps out on defense at guard.”

This Christmas, Raymundo said he’s taking a break from basketball to enjoy the holidays with family. “Even if we’ve been eliminated, it’s still a Merry Christmas for us because our family is complete,” he said. “We’re counting our blessings. We still made No. 1 in the eliminations although we’re not content with that since we were eliminated early. We’re spending the holidays in town. We’re doing our share to help out those who were affected by the floods in Mindanao. My Christmas wish is for all of us to do our share to give to our less fortunate countrymen.”

Raymundo said B-Meg will be back with a bang. “I think I’ve got three to five more years of playing left and my goal is to win more championships,” he said. “I know it can be done. We’ve got a good coach who can lead us.

Source: Joaquin Henson, The Philippine Star 


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