By JEREMIAH SEVILLA
ANGELES CITY – New Blackwater head coach Nash Racela is convinced guard Roi Sumang has what it takes to regain the form that had made him one of exciting players during his UAAP days.
Sumang, a stalwart from University of the East who was picked 26th overall in the 2015 PBA Draft, displayed a glimpse of his old form as he scored a team-high tying 17 points to go with four rebounds, two assists and two steals in the Elite’s maiden win the Philippine Cup bubble against NorthPort, 96-89.
The 29-year-old playmaker poured nine markers in Blackwater’s pivotal run that turned a 41-50 deficit into a 79-65 lead in the third quarter.
“We want him (Sumang) to bring his game back, ‘yung level nya sa UE. We had to remind him na nung naglalaro pa sya for UE, hirap na hirap kaming bantayan sya,” said Racela, a former mentor of the Far Eatern University in the UAAP.
“Nakikita ko na minsan naghe-hesitate tumira. Pero sabi namin, you are capable of doing that,” added Racela, who enjoyed a winning start in his new team.
The 5-foot-8 Sumang admitted that his style changed when he stepped into the pros as he focused on his job as a point guard, a stark contrast to his role as a main gunner during his UE days from 2011 to 2014.
Thanks to his new coach, the former UAAP Mythical Team member was able to reintroduce his offensive prowess in the bubble.
“Si coach Nash ine-encourage nya ‘ko lagi tumira. Kaya nung third quarter, tumira din talaga ako. ‘Di ko naman hinahabol ‘yung score. Sabi nya lan ‘pag open ako, take it,” said Sumang.
Now that Racela sees him as one of the veterans of the young Blackwater squad, Sumang is ready to embrace the leadership role.
“Ine-encourage ko rin mga teammates ko. Nag-uusap-usap kami lagi na ‘yung bawat isa kung meron kang maitulong, i-suggest mo. Open naman sila coach Nash sa ganun, wala naman problema.”