MANILA, Philippines -- Blackwater head coach Nash Racela was pleased with Roi Sumang's performance in their first game of the season, a 96-89 upset of the NorthPort Batang Pier.
Sumang flashed his all-around game, with 17 points on 6-of-10 shooting along with four rebounds, two assists, two steals, and a block. He made the biggest play of the game for Blackwater, stealing the ball from Kevin Ferrer with 32 seconds left that led to Ed Daquioag's game-breaking transition bucket.
Yet as impressive as Sumang was, Racela wants to see more from their court general. The coach's goal is for Sumang to reach the same heights he did in college, when he earned the moniker "Super Sumang" while playing for University of the East (UE).
"We want him to bring his game back, 'yung level niya sa UE," said Racela after their win. "We had to remind him na noong naglalaro siya sa UE, hirap na hirap kami siyang bantayan eh."
Racela is familiar with Sumang's remarkable performances for the Red Warriors, as he was coaching Far Eastern University at the time.
Sumang became a Mythical Team member in 2006 after averaging 19.3 points per game, but he eventually skipped his final season of eligibility to instead go pro. He fell to the fifth round of the 2015 PBA Rookie Draft before being selected by GlobalPort.
Racela is determined to help Sumang get back to that level, when he established himself as one of the most exciting guards in the UAAP.
"Ngayon, nakikita ko na minsan naghe-hesitate tumira, ayaw," the coach said. "Sabi namin, 'You are capable of doing that. If you think you are open and you have a good shot, then go ahead and take it'."
"Alam ko nag-a-adjust siya, but today, maganda 'yung contributions niya," he added.
Aside from bigger contributions on the floor, Racela also hopes that Sumang will grow into his role as one of the team's leaders. Sumang is one of the few holdovers of a Blackwater team that is looking to make a breakthrough in the PBA after missing the playoffs in two of the three conferences last year.
In last season's All Filipino Cup, Sumang averaged 8.82 points, 4.36 assists, and 3.45 rebounds per game.
"We'll look to him as one of our leaders, as one of our veterans also sa Blackwater," Racela said of Sumang.