Photo from MPBLAROUND THE REGION66
Losing Cardona hurts but San Juan still in good position with other Knights ready to step up, says Alcantara
by Niel Victor Masoy, January 15, 2020 10:22pm
Last week, San Juan lost one of its key players in Macmac Cardona.
In a statement, the Knights said Cardona left the team due to ‘personal reasons’.
San Juan head coach Randy Alcantara admitted losing a veteran like Cardona, an ex-Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) player at that, hurts.
Still, he’s confident that even with Cardona already out, San Juan is still in a good position as the other Knights are ready to step up in the ongoing Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League (MPBL) Lakan Cup.
“Syempre yung leadership ni Macmac, yung points niya (mami-miss) namin yun),” said Alcantara.
“Pero kagaya nung sinabi ko from the start ng season, katulad nila John [Wilson] at ni Macmac, syempre mapapagod rin sa game, ni-ready rin naman namin yung ibang players. Of course, nandyan rin naman yung supporting cast na alam mo na andyan lang like [Jhonard] Clarito and [Art] Aquino.
“Orlan Wamar talagang he’s stepping up, sa mga kailangang-kailangan naming mga puntos. Yung mga ibang players naman nabigyan ko ng chance, nagri-response naman. Yun naman ang kagandahan yun.”
That San Juan players stepping up was evident in the team’s home game against the Pasig Pirates last Sunday.
Wilson, together with guys like Wamar, Clarito, Aquino, Mike Ayonayon, led the Knights to a 109-99 win - the Knights 22nd victory in 25 games which is the best record in the MPBL Lakan Cup as of posting time.
“Ready naman yang mga yan, ni-ready naman naming mga coaches na kung sino mawala eh mabigyan kayo ng chance, grab niyo lang nang grab,” remarked Alcantra.
Alcantara also stressed that with the playoffs just around the corner, the Knights have to beat playoffs-contending teams like the Manila Stars, Davao Occidental Tigers, and Zamboanga..
For him, that should bode well for San Juan come playoffs time as it tries to defend its title in the league.
“Syempre yung mga top teams, kagaya nung sinasabi ko sa mga players. Minsan nanalo kami sa mga teams na talagang kaya naming manalo. Pero syempre yung mga top teams like Manila, so ayun kailangan naming malusutan yun. May mga assignment pa kami sa South, yung Davao and Zamboanga,” said Alcantara.
“Coming in the playoffs, mas maganda yung experience na makukuha namin doon. Every game kailangan i treat namin as playoffs, especially mga players namin na [Renzo] Subido na kailangang mag-jel pa sa mga beterano namin.”
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