Slingers' Urbiztondo is a man on a mission
New import Urbiztondo says his defensive abilities, energy and experience will boost the Slingers
|SINGAPORE SLINGERS||KAOHSIUNG TRUTH|
New Singapore Slingers signing Josh Urbiztondo arrived in Singapore barely a week ago, but he is already on a mission: To bag the Asean Basketball League (ABL) title.
A replacement for guard Rolando Gardner, Urbiztondo could be the boost the Slingers badly need, after their worrying run of three losses in five matches.
Speaking to The New Paper on the sidelines of a training session at the OCBC Arena on Thursday ahead of Sunday's match against the Kaohsiung Truth, the 34-year-old Filipino-American said that he hopes to find his rhythm for the remaining ABL regular season games to prepare for the upcoming play-offs.
He said: "The play-offs are what we're targeting.
"We want to be the best, not only myself as an individual, but also as a team, so that we can win the final championship."
Despite boasting almost a decade of experience in the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA), the former GlobalPort Batang Pier player is still trying to adjust to the new environment.
During his debut against Saigon Heat last Sunday, he notched four points and two rebounds as the Slingers slumped to a 75-73 home loss.
Said the guard: "The ABL and PBA have some different rules.
"The balls used are different, which takes some adjusting to, and we also travel around a lot in the ABL, which is really tiring.
"I need to get used to the pace of the game here and get into shape as fast as I can. Luckily, I have time and I know what I need to do to succeed.
"We play every Sunday, so that gives me six days to prepare for every match."
Although he is still trying to find his feet with the Slingers, Urbiztondo is confident he will prove to be an asset come the end of the season.
"Gardner was a rookie, the Slingers was his first job - but I have nine years of experience as a pro," said Urbiztondo.
"I'll bring my defence, energy and experience to the table."
Slingers coach Neo Beng Siang has cited the inconsistent defence as one of the main reasons for their recent losses, along with a drop in shooting accuracy.
Said Neo: "We're working a lot on our defensive footwork, whether it's against Saigon Heat or Kaohsiung Truth.
"Last year, we did well in that aspect but, this season, we're falling behind.
"In his (Urbiztondo's) first game, he was a little too eager to take shots.
"But I'm happy with what I see from Josh during training - I believe he can give us something in the play-offs, although he's still adjusting to the team.
"Hopefully, he can get better through the season."
After tomorrow's game against Kaohsiung Truth, the Slingers will play the Saigon Heat twice to end their regular season - at home on March 19 and away on March 25.