In more than seven years being involved in PBA coaching — be it as head coach or as deputy — Chris Gavina couldn’t recall a time he has ever handled a rookie that is highly regarded as a solid two-way player.
That makes Rain Or Shine newcomer Gian Mamuyac as an easy choice.
“By far,” Gavina said when asked if Mamuyac is probably the best two-way rookie player he has coached.
“He’s basically, on the defensive end, like a Jireh (Ibanes) and Gabe (Norwood) put together. He has that unique ability to create shots on the offensive side and his class reveals in practice, the way he carries himself and it carries over to his teammates.”
On Saturday, Mamuyac played a big role in helping the Elasto Painters snapping a six-game losing skid. He finished with 15 points, including four triples, while also adding two steals.
The rookie didn’t get intimidated even when being asked to defend NLEX’s big guns like Kevin Alas and Calvin Oftana as the combination of length, speed and athleticism makes him a good match up from guards to small forwards.
On offense, he’s one player who’s not afraid to take the big shots.
Mamuyac hit key baskets, including his last triple inside the final three-minute mark of regulation that helped stave off NLEX’s rally and pushed Rain or Shine to a comfortable 93-82 lead.
Coming from a rich basketball winning program at Ateneo, Mamuyac is embracing the new challenge of playing for a team that is considered a work in progress.
The Elasto Painters’ win-loss record is not encouraging as they are at the bottom four of the standings with a 2-6 record.
But Mamuyac and the rest of the young players in the team are ready to endure the growing pains as they move along.
“I’m extremely ecstatic to be given this opportunity to coach this young man and really play the future for Rain Or Shine,” added Gavina.