MANILA, Philippines – Kayel Locke felt he was a victim of a "couple of bad calls" as his PBA debut ended in a loss with Rain or Shine falling short to Magnolia, 68-69, in the Governors' Cup on Friday, October 4.
Playing in the country for the first time as a replacement for Joel Wright, Locke struggled to find his groove early after already incurring 4 fouls in the first half.
Locke had only 2 points and already committed 4 turnovers in the first two quarters – a frustrating stretch that saw him get whistled for two offensive fouls, including one where he could have converted a three-point play.
Although Locke bounced back in the second half and still finished with 13 points and 9 rebounds, he lamented the calls got in the way of his play.
"Trying to get used to the way that they play here. I think I got a couple of bad calls in the first half and that kind of messed my rhythm up a little bit," the 25-year-old told reporters after the game.
"But I think our team, we still fought, we showed some pride and fought well. Right now, just trying to get back to rhythm and be able to help my team so we'll be stronger the next time we play."
While some new imports admit they still need to adjust to the physicality in the league, Locke said it 'isn't that big of a point' to him.
"It's just learning how the referees call certain things because there are certain things that they let things be physical and other things you kind of have to make sure you don't use hands or anything like that," he said.
Locked added: "I just got here 4, 5 days ago so I'm still trying to get everything under my belt. Once that happens, things will look good moving forward."
Rain or Shine looks to end its two-game skid and get its first win with Locke against Phoenix at the Cuneta Astrodome on Wednesday, October 9. – Rappler.com
Delfin Dioquino dreamt of being a PBA player, but he did not have the skills to make it. So he pursued the next best thing to being an athlete – to write about them. He took up journalism at the University of Santo Tomas and joined Rappler as soon as he graduated in 2017.