Thursday, October 18, 2012

The faith of Gary David. By James Velasquez.

By James Velasquez

When Gary David stepped back on the floor for Global Port Batang Pier practice, he started to reminisce. Sunlight burst through seams of the window screens. Ginormous electric fans inside the Moro Lorenzo Sports Center provided a welcome respite for players who arrived early. Just months ago, Doug Kramer cooled his heels using that ginormous fan. Today, Jason Deutchman did that. Marvin Cruz sat on the spot where JVee Casio used to get taped up. Gary used to exchange silent high fives with Marcio Lassiter before practice started. Today's training session started this way:

Willie Miller: "What's up son?!"

Gary David: "I'm good son!"

They're good guys: Miller, Cruz, Deutchman, AJ Mandani, and the rest of the Global Port Batang Pier. But they're not Gary's guys. Doug Kramer, Sean Anthony, and Celino Cruz went to Barako Bull. JVee Casio was traded to Alaska. Lassiter was sent to Petron Blaze. Bo Perasol is reportedly joining the UP Fighting Maroons’ as consultant. So I suppose for Gary, Global Port just isn’t the same team.

“Plastik naman kung sasabihin kong hindi ako nanibago," David, days removed from a stinging opening day loss to Ginebra, admitted. "Siyempre nami-miss ko rin yung dati kong mga kakampi. Expected ko naman na mag-a-adjust pa ako, pero alam ko expectations sa akin ng coach ko, ng team ko. Responsibilidad ko na tumugon.”

The Powerade Phenomenon. A surreal experience. A near-Cinderella finish. With his guys, David shot his way to superstardom, he torched the scoreboard and struck fear into the hearts of PBA contenders. That team will always be close to Gary's heart. “Hinding-hindi ko makakalimutan lahat ng na-accomplish namin.

Memories can be traced back to desire. Desire can be traced back to faith. Gary believes faith allowed Powerade to go the distance. It was a faith that empowered him to score on defenders time and again. That faith inspired rookies Casio and Lassiter. That faith energized Kramer and Anthony. That very same faith will now push David, with a new set of guys, on a new PBA team, to compete.

“Nakikita ko na may potential pa rin ang team ko,” Gary saidNotice the term Ang Team Ko. This is now his team. These are now his guys. He's all-in. “Gusto ko yung tapang ni AJ. Gusto ko yung shooting ni Jason. Siyempre andiyan din si Willie. Nag-usap na kami na hati kami sa responsibility. Andiyan din sina Rey, Rabeh, Jondan. Kailangan lang talaga naming gawin, dumepensa.”

Gary headed for the showers after practice. But he stopped to check on Mandani who sat alone by the end of the bench. Then, he chatted with Cruz. Afterwards, he exchanged high-fives with Jondan Salvador and Rommel Adducul. Suddenly, he felt that Powerade-feeling all over again. Players may change. The game, however, remains the same. You win when everybody believes in everyone. You win when you have faith. 

“Basta tiwala lang," Gary concluded. "Tiwala kami sa isa’t isa.” JV

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