Realtors Brace for Psychological Battle

On: 19 February 2008

By Noli Cortez
Malaya, 19 February 2008

STA. Lucia Realty coach Boyet Fernandez knows some players will go to great lengths just to get under an opposing player’s skin. He used to just take such moves in stride.

But he will not let this one pass, especially because the ploy is being utilized on his star player.

This explains why Fernandez was in Purefoods guard Roger Yap’s face right after the Realtors pulled off a 112-101 win over the Giants last Sunday to go up 2-0 in their Smart PBA Philippine Cup championship at the packed Araneta Coliseum.

The two former teammates engaged in a fierce shouting match, the incident stemming from a hard foul given by Yap on Sta. Lucia’s Kelly Williams in the dying seconds of the game when the Realtors were well on the way to victory.

"I was asking him kung bakit tapos na ang game kailangan pa niyan suntukin o saktan si Kelly," related Fernandez, who once played alongside Yap with Purefoods in the early 2000s in the course of his PBA career that started in 1993 and ended in 2005.

"We’re protecting Kelly. He’s one of the top players in the PBA. Kung gaganuunin nila ang player, para namang wala silang respeto sa player," he added.

"Medyo mainit dahil championship. But I have to protect my players. Ang sabi niya (Yap) sa akin, ‘Eh bakit hinahamon mo ako?’ Ang sabi ko, hindi kita hinahamon. Huwag mo nang saktan ang player ko. He’s running for the MVP. Kapag sinaktan mo iyan, na-technical ‘yan, na-thrown out iyan, negative sa kanya iyun.

"I know it’s a psychological type of game at hindi mainit ang ulo ko kay Roger. Kaya lang…."

Things are much different in the way Yap narrated his own version to Purefoods coach Ryan Gregorio.

"Ang sabi sa akin ni Roger, coach Boyet cursed him," offered Gregorio."We’re not going to take that sitting down."

The youthful mentor did not specify what steps they are taking. He already has enough on his mind.

In league history, 24 of 29 teams that have taken a 2-0 lead in a best-of-seven series went on to wrap it up.

Inarguably, Williams is a big factor, stressing once again why he is the prime candidate for the Best Player of the Conference award and the Realtors now on the threshold of taking full control of the series.

The Fil-American, who like Yap traces his roots to Cebu, scattered 19 of his 23 points in the second half of Game 2 and added 11 rebounds for his 18th double-double of the season.

"That’s the kind of an MVP player who steps up, especially in a championship series like this," said Fernandez.

Williams had a lot of help.

Purefoods’ James Yap and Kerby Raymundo had 20-point games and so did Peter June Simon, but their efforts went down the drain when Sta. Luca cranked up its defensive pressure as the teams went into the fourth period and the count tied at 81.

While Williams was sparking a telling 12-2 run to give the Realtors the lead for good, Ryan Reyes anchored the defense on "Big Game" James, limiting the latter to 0-of-6 from the floor and just two free throws.

The Realtors’ other young Turks, Denok Miranda, Nelbert Omolon and Joseph Yeo also did their defensive share and so did veteran team captain Dennis Espino, who held Raymundo to just three attempts and one field goal in the quarter.

Fernandez said he expects Gregorio to put some of the blame on some spotty officiating and he rather encourages that to catch the PBA’s attention.

"I hope the PBA and commissioner (Sonny) Barrios will look at this game. There’re so many calls that went our way but there are also many calls that went theirs. Kaya I’m really hoping they will review this para magawan ng paraan," he said.

"Basta kami, we’re playing by the rules and hopefully there’d be some consistency in that."

Indirectly, he also wants the league and game officials to take a closer look at the way Roger Yap guards Williams in ways that–after the heat of last Sunday’s incident has passed–he can even understand.

"Now it’s a psychological type of game," he said.

0 comments on "Realtors Brace for Psychological Battle"

Post a Comment