Aside from rookie Ed Daquioag, Meralco head coach Norman Black had another Bolt that earned his praise in his post-game victory presser win over TNT on Friday.
While Daquioag continues to prove he’s a gem after being selected from the special draft for Gilas pool members, six-year veteran Rabeh Al-Hussaini’s efficiency in their second win in the Philippine Cup certainly did not go unnoticed for the multi-titled mentor.
“He (Al-Hussaini) was very stable tonight (Friday) as far as his performance (is concerned),” said Black. “He wasn’t in a hurry. He took what the defense gave him and defensively, he was good tonight.”
True enough, the 2010 second overall pick played huge offensively to backstop Daquioag, chipping in 14 points in 28 minutes00easily his most efficient outing in recent memory.
You see, the 6-foot-7 center suffered a decline in his performance since his impressive rookie year for the now-defunct Air21 franchise.
But under his former Ateneo mentor, Al-Hussaini looks to ride the second wind on his career and thrive in the Bolts, especially in the all-Filipino conference.
“Wala, kailangan talaga mag-step up eh,” shared Al-Hussaini. “Ine-expect niya (Black) rin sa akin talaga na mag-step up. Expected kasi pag hindi ako naglaro ng maayos, then I won’t be really playing at all.”
While he developed his basketball skills under Black’s watch during his Ateneo days, Al-Hussaini said he is working on adapting to the disciplined system they are running at Meralco.
“Nag-iba kami ng konti ng system pero sabi niya sa akin, huwag magmamadali. Wait for my open spots so okay naman,” stressed Al-Hussaini.
The former Blue Eagle hopes his efficiency against the Katropa continues for the better as the Bolts try to make a radical followup from their runner-up finish from last season’s Governors Cup.
“Sana, yun naman talaga yung goal eh, is to be consistent. Dahan-dahan lang sana umangat din,” he said. – Jason Mercene
Follow this writer on Twitter: @JasonMercenePH