Kings rallying behind rookie

Kings rallying behind rookie

Ralph Cu cherishes the opportunity to learn from his kuyas at Barangay Ginebra San Miguel.

The rookie did not disappoint his seniors with his performance of late in the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) Philippine Cup.

Cu made his presence felt in the Gin Kings’ 95-88 win over NorthPort last Sunday at the Ninoy Aquino Stadium with a stellar showing that had him an assist short of becoming the first freshman in eight years to record a triple-double.

The De La Salle University product put up 24 points, 10 rebounds and nine assists in leading Ginebra to its second straight victory for a 5-3 win-loss record at third spot.

Cu thanked his battalion of “coaches” for bringing out his full potential in the pros.

“It all starts in practice. If I hesitated or committed bad plays, everyone on the bench, they talk to me on what I should do,” the second-round pick in the last PBA draft said.

Cu, who shot 9-of-15 from the field including 6-of-11 from the three-point territory, also credited returning veteran guard Scottie Thompson’s confidence in him orchestrating the Gin Kings’ plays.

Thompson, who played his second game after missing the team’s first six games due to back problems, was the last rookie to reach a triple-double back in 2016.                    

Kuya Scottie is a big factor. He doesn’t stop moving so we all got involved on offense. We try to help each other but I guess I just got lucky I had that many assists. Sometimes its Christian (Standhardinger). I think that’s what makes our team unpredictable,” the former 3x3 standout said.

Kings head coach Tim Cone wasn’t surprised at all with what Cu has been consistently bringing to the table.   

“We talked about chemistry a lot and Ralph when he walked in to the first day of practice everybody was like ‘Wow, this kid can play.’ He has this presence about him, a calm, relaxed presence about him, where he sees the floor extremely well. He has very great instincts,” Cone said.

The multi-titled mentor also bared that his seniors are all excited having him in the fold right from day one. 

“We see it every day in practice. The guys are really excited about helping him out, teaching him,” he said.

“Poor guy, I mean he has 12, 14 coaches on him on the floor right now. Everybody’s trying to coach him because he’s still a rookie. But he doesn’t really need a lot of coaching because his instincts are all there. But the idea of pumping up his confidence, that’s crucial by guys like LA (Tenorio) and Scottie and the veterans,” Cone added.

The tactician felt Cu’s last showing earned him a tremendous amount of respect as well as making him a marked man in their coming games.

“He just kind of announced himself to the league, so I’m sure the next time out, they’ll be more conscious of him,” Cone said.

Despite his impressive game, Cu acknowledges that he still has much to learn. 

“Actually, in my performance, I’m not very particular about my offense, I need to improve on my defense,” he said.     

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