Comebacking PBA import Jason Forte is embracing the challenge of helping Rain or Shine arrest a two-game skid and resuscitate its playoffs hopes in the ongoing PBA Governors Cup.
Forte was tapped at the last-minute after Greg Smith, who was originally replacing Dior Lowhorn, went beyond the 6-5 height limit for American import on Tuesday.
The 32-year-old arrived early Thursday morning and reported for practice on the same day in preparation for the team’s all-important match against giant killer Mahindra (6-2) on Friday.
Rain or Shine then, returns to action on Sunday where it will face NLEX.
“Coach Yeng (Guiao) knows what I bring so what I do bring to this team will be an added plus because we are a good team,” Forte told FOX Sports on Thursday.
The Elasto Painters are currently tied for sixth and seventh spots with Phoenix Fuel Masters in the standings with similar 3-4 cards.
Forte, who first played under Guiao in 2010 at Air21, believes the Elasto Painters control their own destiny even though the team has lost its last two matches, including a shock 101-99 defeat to GlobalPort Batang Pier last week in Legazpi City.
“We control our own destiny. We’ll take one game at a time, but we know if we win these (next two games) this weekend, we can put ourselves in a good seat with two games left,” he added.
Forte is no stranger anymore to PBA fans because after his stint with Air21, he also played for the Alaska Aces in 2011 and 2012.
In fact, he vows to come out with an “unbelievable tenacity” for the team and for Guiao, who he thanked for bringing him back for a fourth PBA tour of duty.
“I have a lot of respect for him (Guiao) and I remember the last time we (when he was still with Alaska) played him in a tuneup game, he came to me after the game and said, ‘you really keep impressing me each time I watch you play’,” shared the Southern Mississippi standout.
“I would have never thought he would be the coach to bring me back. But it goes to show he really appreciates what I bring to the game and I’ll be sure to play with unbelievable tenacity, not just for myself but for him and my teammates,” he added.
As a self-confessed Manny Pacquiao fan, Forte said he’ll also set aside his admiration for the world’s only eight-division boxing champion should the concurrent Philippine senator play as the American tries to help Rain or Shine get back on the winning track.
“I’m a huge fan of Pacman just because I’m Pinoy at heart,” said Forte.
“I’ll be sure to be a fan after the game is over and hopefully after we get the w (win). Maybe he can let me get a picture with him for all my USA fans to see on my Instagram,” he added. – Richard Dy
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