NOW is the time for Columbian import Lester Prosper to start playing true to his words and help the Dyip in what should be another one tough test.
"Limit turnovers, stay locked in on defense, play hard and play smart, respect the game and respect the opponent," was how Ravena enumerated the things his players must bear in mind.
For Columbian is ranged Friday against a TNT crew aiming to regain solo leadership in the PBA Commissioner's Cup at the Cuneta Astrodome.
The KaTropa have won four straight and have set their sights on improving to a 7-1 slate overall that would break them out of their current tie with idle NorthPort.
The Dyip have the more modest twin goals of notching a second win in six starts and from there gain momentum in their own stretch run of the eliminations.
Coach Bong Ravena does not want his team to be caught off-guard by whatever it is Columbian has in store.
Indeed, Prosper is ready to prop Columbian in only his second game as replacement for original import Kyle Barone.
"I'm not here to just come for a day or two and leave. I understand it's a process. We gotta trust our process," said Prosper after the Dyip's 103-110 loss to Magnolia Ang Pambansang Manok last Sunday.
The State University of New York College at Old Westbury product did not do so bad in his PBA debut, putting up 26 points and 14 rebounds, while going 11-of-20 from the field, in 42 minutes of action.
But the defensive tenacity coach Johnedel Cardel wanted and main reason he gave for the decision to tap the southpaw Dominican Republic native was hardly there, as well as a respectable jumper from the perimeter.
Prosper still insisted his first game was satisfactory enough, considering the circumstances.
"I did my job, I did what I had to do," said Prosper. "We gotta do a better job of communication and playing together, but my debut is cool, you know?"
And the 30-year-old remains unfazed, maintaining he'd do anything to help the team he has grown fond of since arriving here last June 4.
"I love my team, I love my teammates. You know what I'm saying? We just gotta get better. You know? That's all it is. We just gotta continue to get better, that's all," said Prosper.
Columbian should, for TNT has shown it is one force to be reckoned with in the mid-season tourney.
Terrence Jones is leading all comers with an average of 33.86 points on top of 15.71 rebounds and 6.29 assists per game. The former Houston Rocket is also coming off a 49-point, 18-rebound game in a 104-91 demolition of Meralco last Saturday.
Jayson Castro, who recently got married and consequently missed the Bolts game, is back in harness and is sure to lead the local KaTropa along with Roger Pogoy, Troy Rosario and Don Trollano.(NC)