MANILA, Philippines -- The TerraFirma Dyip had some promising moments in their season opener against NLEX, but they still need to play smarter.
This, according to their head coach, Johnedel Cardel, who lamented the poor decisions made by his young team in a 105-102 defeat to the Road Warriors on Wednesday in what was their first game of the 2022-23 PBA Philippine Cup.
TerraFirma led by 16 points at the half but were out-scored, 40-29, by NLEX in the pivotal third quarter. The Road Warriors completed their comeback in the final frame, with the Dyip having no answer for Calvin Oftana who exploded for 18 points in the period.
"I keep on saying sa kanila na you have to be smart. Kasi wala namang perpektong referees eh, 'di ba. Kailangan gagamit tayo ng ulo 'pag mga ganyan, kasi siyempre, this is Coach Yeng [Guiao], this is NLEX," said Cardel.
"Alam mong mga beterano 'yan eh. Kaya dito sa PBA, lamang ka dito 'pag nag-iisip ka at beterano ka eh," he added.
Cardel did not want to blame the officiating for their defeat, acknowledging that they reacted badly to the calls. The Dyip were whistled for 34 fouls in the game, with the Road Warriors going to the line 43 times and making 33 of their charities.
"It's sad to say na sasabihin ko referee, 'no. It's not the reason why natatalo. Kami rin ang may kasalanan. We affected all the calls," said the coach.
"'Yung sinabi ko sa kanila na, 'wag na 'wag kayong papa-apekto sa tawag ng referee, kasi masisira laro natin," he added.
That is easier said than done, however, especially with such a young team. Cardel noted that he only has a handful of veterans in the squad, and even they still have plenty to learn about the game.
He is hopeful that they can fast-track the learning process, especially as they are set to return to action on Saturday against NorthPort -- another team with playoff aspirations like NLEX.
"Paano tayo mananalo? We play as a team, and we use our head. Hindi lang panay lakas. Kailangan gamitin natin ang utak natin, kasi this is a tough league," Cardel said of his message to his team. "This is PBA, iba 'to sa ibang liga, kahit sa international pa 'yan."