Avenido still carrying his team at 38, admits players not in top shape


Photo by Tristan Tamayo/ INQUIRER.net

At 38 years of age, Leo Avenido knows that he’s not supposed to log heavy minutes this late in his career.

But if these are the boundaries he have push just to help his team win, he is willing do it.

The Gamboa Coffee Mix playing-coach did just that on Tuesday, spending 30 minutes on the floor and racking up 38 points and nine rebounds to help his team’s cause.

“That’s already my age,” Avenido said jokingly when his numbers were raised to him after the game.

Unfortunately, those efforts went down the drain as Wangs Basketball sent Gamboa to its third straight defeat with an 88-86 heartbreaker after a John Ambulodto game-winner.

Avenido bared that through four games, he thinks that the team’s lack of conditioning are costing his side winnable games.

“Truthfully, we’re not in game shape. We’re practicing three times a week and it’s not enough,” he said, explaining why at times, he had to extend himself heavy minutes. “You saw in the game, I had to be a player again, but that happened because I wanted them to experience playing in close games.”

Avenido’s body also failed him late, with fatigue getting the better of him as he missed two crucial freebies in the last 25.4 seconds which could have given the Coffee Lovers the lead.

“I was already cramping, but I wanted to win,” he shared. “It’s the pride we have as players, that even if we’re veterans here and we’re facing younger players, we don’t want to lose against them.”

Carrying a 1-3 record, there’s still hope for Gamboa and Avenido thinks it all boils down to his players’ willingness to take the extra mile.

“It’s up to the players. I told them that we just have to do a little more effort. We lack the energy, especially on defense. I think it’s just the effort which spells the difference for us,” he said.

Gamboa Coffee Mix seeks to end its three-game losing streak against Tanduay next Tuesday.