Flying V coach Eric Altamirano wants his players to forget the elimination round sweep and focus on the new challenge ahead of the 2017 PBA D-League Foundation Cup semifinals.
“In our team, we already forgot about the 10-0. We’re back to square one and our focus is what’s in front of us,” he said.
The Thunder became only the fourth team in league history to have swept the eliminations after NLEX, which did it twice, and Cagayan Valley.
But for Altamirano, the 10-game sweep won’t mean anything if they don’t close the deal and finish the conference with a championship.
That title drive begins on Thursday as Flying V faces four-seed Centro Escolar University in a best-of-three semifinals series.
Altamirano noted that his team is well aware of how stronger the opposition has gotten, and he is keeping the Thunder’s feet on the ground as they take things one game at a time.
“Other teams are getting stronger as the playoffs get deeper. But we’re not looking beyond that. CEU is also a team-to-beat because they’ve been there lots of times. (Rod) Ebondo has been in the D-League for so long and he has been in Finals. Their core, although school-based, are still very experienced. So we’re just focused on the task at hand,” he said.
Luckily, Altamirano will have Conference MVP pacesetter Jeron Teng at his disposal, as he will count on the La Salle prodigy to lead Flying V to the promised land.
“Jeron is an achiever. When he puts his mind to it, he will not stop until he gets it. Before, he’s been known as a scorer. But now, he’s trying to evolve the other aspects of his game,” the coach said.
But for all of Teng’s magnificence, the veteran mentor reiterated that the 23-year-old swingman can’t do it all alone. That’s why he’s relying equally on his core of Gab Banal, Eric Salamat, Hans Thiele, and Thomas Torres to get the job done.
“What I like about Jeron is his ability to involve his teammates. That’s a very good sign of a good player. But of course, he can’t do all of that if not for his teammates so I think Jeron is very blessed to have teammates like Eric, Gab, and Thomas,” he said.
“Actually, I’m just blessed to have these type of players that we got. We just remind them to focus on the process and the result will take care of itself.”