Sei­gle busy in new role

The Philippine Star - - SPORTS - By JOAQUIN M. HEN­SON

One of the PBA’s great­est and most­liked play­ers Danny Sei­gle is en­joy­ing his new role as San Miguel Pale Pilsen Alab team con­sul­tant. At 41, he has made a smooth tran­si­tion from star player to a bench po­si­tion but pointed out the other day there is still no for­mal an­nounce­ment of his re­tire­ment. “I haven’t made any for­mal an­nounce­ment about re­tire­ment,” he said. “I’ve just been re­ally busy with Alab. I’ll let you know if and when that hap­pens.”

Sei­gle, a Hall of Famer at the NCAA Divi­sion I school Wag­ner Col­lege in Staten Is­land, New York, was the PBA’s rookie of the year in 1999 and played on eight PBA ti­tle squads with four Fi­nals MVP awards. He suited up in 16 PBA sea­sons, 10 with the San Miguel fran­chise, two with Barako Bull and the last four with TNT KaTropa. Thrice, Sei­gle av­er­aged at least 20 points in a sea­son. Dy­na­mite Danny was a crowd fa­vorite known not only for his play­ing skills but also his high stan­dard of sports­man­ship.

With Alab, Sei­gle joins head coach Jimmy Ala­pag in a staff that also counts on Mac Cuan. Last sea­son, Sei­gle saw lim­ited ac­tion with TNT, av­er­ag­ing 1.9 points in 18 games. So the move to Alab was timely. And now that Alab is safely in the ABL Fi­nals, Sei­gle is just three wins away from adding an­other mile­stone in his cham­pi­onship his­tory.

A fac­tor that Sei­gle sin­gled out in an­a­lyz­ing Alab’s suc­cess is trust. “Other teams choose a shorter ro­ta­tion but our trust in our guys al­lows us to go deep into our bench,” he said. “Ev­ery sin­gle player has seen time on the court and they all gave us cru­cial con­tri­bu­tions at some point. Our depth has been the back­bone of our suc­cess so far.”

A case in point is Alab guard Pao Javelona. In Game 1 of the semi­fi­nal se­ries against Hong Kong Eastern in Wan Chai last week, Javelona got off to a poor start, miss­ing a wide open three and flub­bing a layup. But Ala­pag didn’t lose faith in the for­mer NU guard. In the sec­ond quar­ter, Javelona buried a triple dur­ing a 9-0 surge that erected a 50-43 lead for Alab at the half. With 5.1 sec­onds left, it was Javelona who pre­served Alab’s 98-94 vic­tory by forc­ing a travel on Hong Kong hot­shot Ki Lee.

Ala­pag’s trust in Javelona ex­tended to Game 2 in Sta. Rosa last Sun­day. Javelona re­paid Ala­pag for it by de­liv­er­ing 11 points, eight re­bounds and four as­sists in 23:35 solid min­utes in Alab’s 79-72 win. Sei­gle said aside from Javelona who’s a starter, the Alab bench has re­sponded “re­ally well and given us what we needed when called upon.” He added, “We’re happy with the ef­fort and hard work that they put in ev­ery day to pre­pare them­selves.”

This af­ter­noon, Sei­gle will join the Alab play­ers and coaches in watch­ing Game 2 of the semi­fi­nal se­ries be­tween Mono Vam­pire of Thai­land and Chong Son Kung Fu of China via live stream at the City Club in Makati af­ter morn­ing prac­tice. “They both have big cen­ters (6-11 Justin Howard of Kung Fu and 7-5 Samuel Deguara of Vam­pire) to con­tend with and true point guards who ex­e­cute their team’s sys­tem ef­fi­ciently,” he said. “They’ve ac­tu­ally been great all year, equally tal­ented and both teams de­serve to ad­vance. We’ll just have to wait for the out­come. Then we fo­cus on strat­egy – like points of at­tack, de­fen­sive schemes, etc. We gave the guys two days off to rest their bodies and minds. We want them to be ready men­tally just as much as phys­i­cally.”

Sei­gle said, on a side note, what’s been im­pres­sive this ABL sea­son is the Philip­pine tal­ent show­cased around the league. “Not only do they have ma­jor roles for their re­spec­tive teams but I feel their skills have re­ally im­pacted the league and made it stronger and more ex­cit­ing,” he said. “I can’t help but feel pride watch­ing them per­form at such a high level re­gard­less of the coun­try they’re play­ing for.” Among the ASEAN her­itage im­ports this sea­son are play­ers with Filipino roots like Jawhar Purdy, Joshua Mun­zon, A. J. Man­dani, Michael Williams, Lawrence Domingo, Chris­tian Stand­hardinger, Cae­lan Tiong­son, Mikh McK­in­ney, Ja­son Brick­man and Paul Za­mar.

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