PBA: Kiwi "coach" wants TNT to love basketball again
Paul Lintag on Sep 30, 2018 08:39 PM
"For me it was just a matter of trying to get them to enjoy basketball again and finding their love of the game again. So thats really what I focused on." --- Mark Dickel on the TNT KaTropa.
A new "coach" is trying to harness TNT's immense talent and it's working so far.
Mark Dickel, tapped by the KaTropa from New Zealand to join their staff mid-way through the 2018 PBA Governors' Cup, has been doing well so far in his initial stint in the Philippines.
Dickel, who is officially acting as a consultant for TNT, has helped newly-promoted head coach Bong Ravena lead the team to renaissance of sorts in the conference.
Following Sunday's 23-point comeback against Northport, Dickel and Ravena are 2-0 with TNT and the KaTropa have recovered from a nightmare 1-4 start to make it back to .500 basketball.
"Not too much structurally. You know the previous coach [Nash Racela] has done a really good job, I mean, hes a really good coach, we have really good players," Dickel said when asked what he's changed with TNT since arriving to the team a couple of weeks back.
"For me it was just a matter of trying to get them to enjoy basketball again and finding their love of the game again. So thats really what I focused on. And to have other really good coaches helping me like Bong, Alton, coach Eric, it makes a big big difference. So really its just trying to make it enjoyable for them and hopefully that translates to the court. We have a good talent in our team. Its just how we gonna play hard enough to win every game," he added.
Aside from making the game more "enjoyable" and infusing a new attitude and culture to TNT, Dickel has put an emphasis on defense.
The KaTropa, despite having many defensive-minded coaches in their history, were never really known as a defense-first team.
In the fourth quarter of TNT's game against the Batang Pier, the KaTropa broke out a full-court press. That, among other thigs, helped the flagship MVP team complete a 23-point comeback.
"It's something that we wanna focus on. If you allow the other teams to play they're gonna score on you," Dickel said on TNT's defense.
"So defense has to be our focus, otherwise we're really beatable. That's one thing we're working on but its difficult too because the other players are really good and its not usually until the third or fourth quarter that you can wear them down enough so that the pressure is effective. So its just a matter of staying the course," he added.
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