February 05, 1997
Pop Cola's Fil-Am recruit also fails to impress in tuneup game
If the pre-season games are any indication, it seems that the homegrown talents have no cause to worry with the advent of Fil- Am cagers. Formula Shell's rookie duo of Ernesto Ballesteros and Jay Mendoza came through with a two-pronged attack while Fil-American counterpart Nicholas Belasco sputtered in offense in the Zoom Masters' 102-95 rapping of Pop Cola in a tune-up game at Green Meadows Gym yesterday. With franchise players Ronnie Magsanoc and Benjie Paras riding the bench in the final canto, the two Zoom Masters' rookies conspired on the offensive end as a 19-10 run transformed a four- point advantage early in the quarter into a 98-85 bulge four minutes remaining. Shell coach Chito Narvasa is very much satisfied with his freshmen's respective performances.
"Maraming pahihirapan iyang si Estong (Ballesteros)," he said. "We can develop mismatches because he (Ballesteros) can play both inside and outside." "Si Jay (Mendoza) naman napakalakas sa loob, walang takot," Narvasa added. Ballesteros, a former UST Tiger, paced the winners with 22 markers while Mendoza scored eight of his 15 points in the final quarter. Pop Cola mentor Derek Pumaren attributed Belasco's sluggish performance to his unfamiliarity with local playing conditions but believes that this year's number two pick is improving as time goes by.
"He (Belasco) still has a lot of adjustments to do, he is still
feeling his way through the local brand of play," reasoned
Pumaren. In complete contrast, Belasco did not show a
semblance of an inside game. Scoring a measly six points, the
6-6 forward contented himself shooting from the outside missing
most of them. Meanwhile, Shell team manager Jimmy Aizon
bared that there is no longer any problem with new recruit
Giovanni Pineda and his former team Alaska Milk. Last week
the 6-5 swingman signed up with Shell but it turned up that he
was not yet given his release papers by his former ballclub. -NOEL L. RODRIGUEZ
Limpot aglow about team prospects, coach, Espino.
Source: Manila Bulletin Online