TIGERS RETAIN SANFORD BUT KEEP DECKER ON RESERVE
MANILA, April 3, 2004 (STAR) Mark Sanford, showing up Coca-Cola import tryout Tate Decker in practice Wednesday and Thursday, will still be the Tigersí reinforcement as they battle the Red Bull Barako at the resumption of the Gran Matador PBA Fiesta Conference at the Philsport Arena today.
Coca-Cola coach Chot Reyes said heís satisfied with Sanfordís game but entertained Decker, a former Oklahoma City University player whoís fresh from a stint in the Japanese league, to be a possible import backup.
"Iím satisfied with Sanfordís game but I donít want to be said Iím remiss in my duties thatís why I considered Decker to be our backup import. Anong malay natin baka ma-injure si Sanford o toyoin," said Reyes.
"Thatís always been the case with me naman. Even during the time of Rossell Ellis and Tee McClary, I had a backup import. And even before Decker came, I told Sanford about that," Reyes added.
Reyes, however, said Decker failed to make the grade. "May laro din naman but not good enough to replace Sanford. Heís a typical white player, hindi athletic but thinking and hard-working player," said Reyes of Decker who also had stints with Missouri and Wake Forest before landing at Oklahoma City University.
Red Bull Barako (4-2) stakes its hold of second place in its game versus Coca-Cola (4-3) at 6:30 p.m.
Meanwhile, Shell, running sixth with a 3-5 win-loss card, seeks to get closer to the upper half of the chart as it takes on the sputtering Sta. Lucia Realty (1-7) in the other game at 4:10 p.m.
Coming off their first back-to-back victories in nearly a year, the Turbochargers hope to stretch their run further though they have doubtful starters in wingmen Chris Calaguio and Ronald Tubid.
Calaguio and Tubid each suffered a sprained ankle versus Ginebra last Sunday but the Turbochargers still found a way to win, giving coach Leo AustriaĖhimself a former TurbochargerĖa sweet homecoming in the team.
Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi
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