By Drei Christopher Villanueva
MALACCA, MALAYSIA – Sometimes, big things come in small packages.
Pint-size guard Chak Cabinbin proved that she had what it takes to all and sundry at the start of the SEABA Women’s Championship at the Bukit Serindit Indoor Stadium here, knockingin 16 points on top of providing hustle and energy for the Blackwater Women-backed Perlas Pilipinas, to beat Singapore handily, 69-43.
The newest inclusion to the squad made immediate impact, keeping a hold of the team and played like a true veteran, but Cabinbin deflected the credit to her teammates who guided her and let her show her true potential.
“They told me to just play my game. They’re the ones who adjusted. They guided me on the things they’ve been doing so the transition wasn’t that difficult,” Cabinbin said.
The confidence on Cabinbin’s game playing the point guard spot was a product of emulating some of the game’s greatest performers, among them Tony Parker of the NBA’s San Antonio Spurs, as well as PBA stars Terrence Romeo and Jayson Castro, two stalwarts of the Gilas Pilipinas squad.
“I have to pick some things sa kanila. I like Romeo’s moves, but I like the way Castro and Parker lead their teams because they have complete control of their teams. They can win or lose the game in their hands,” added Cabinbin.
Leadership is what Cabinbin brought to the national team, this despite being one of the newcomers of the squad. She took the spot vacated by Fil-Am guard Sofia Roman, who is still studying in the United States.
But Cabinbin immediately brought the impact of her game, scoring 13 of her total output in the first three quarters, most of them coming off turnovers as she helped anchor Perlas Pilipinas’ crippling pressure defense that resulted to 20 turnovers by Singapore.
“She was a consistent player, an MVP in the WNCAA and that’s what many people don’t know,” said Head Coach Patrick Aquino, who wasn’t surprised at all by the performance. “She’ll be one of our surprises packages in the tournament.”
Because of the deluge of turnovers, the Philippines was able to score 16 points from the errors, allowing them to pull away early and the Filipinas never looked back.
The Philippines returned to the floor at 4 p.m. Wednesday against Laos and the team is expected to breeze past its opponent. The Filipinas will face Vietnam the next day at 6 p.m. where our cage belles are likely to face stiff competition as the Vietnamese are now being handled by Filipino coach Jojo Castillo.
Castillo was responsible for the tremendous progress of the Ho Chi Minh under-19 team, which played a series of games in Manila and was able to beat powerhouse team Chiang Kai Shek.
May the best team win!
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