Franko House admitted that he was a little bit underwhelming in his PBA debut on Friday for the Alaska Aces, who continued their free fall in the Governors' Cup.
House, who was brought in to replace the injured Justin Watts (strained calf), was unable to help his side reach that much-needed breakthrough and managed just eight points, 11 rebounds, six assists and two blocks on a game-low minus-24 rating.
"I gotta come out with more intensity, take more ownership, be more aggressive as far as, like, the physicality of the game and be strong with the more and take it to the rim. I didn't play my best game today. I'll be ready next game," he conceded.
The 25-year-old import, who played four years at Ball State, is a two-sport athlete who declared for the 2017 NFL Draft. House was later signed by the Chicago Bears before being cut days later.
House plied his trade in the Netherlands for the last two years with the Landstede Hammers in the Dutch Basketball League. After being around a team that was reinforced by "three or four" other imports aside from him, House acknowledged that he had to get used to the increased attention his opponents will give him around the basket. "I think it was more of me being the only import out there, I'm not used to that," conceded House. "Not as much attention defensively so that's something I'll adjust to. Know where to pick my spots, know how to handle doubles better, seeing three people on me in the paint, that type of stuff."
After struggling against help defenses and a 2-3 zone defense deployed by the Meralco Bolts defense, House is confident about his ability to make the necessary counters and adjustments down low -- like what he somehow did in the second half after tallying just four points and three boards in the first two quarters -- in the coming games.
"I think I started out slow. They played a 2-3 and I was a little passive, and it kind of carried over. Then I tried to get aggressive and I wasn't ready for all of it. It's just a matter of me being reading it, being ready if they go 2-3, to be aggressive in the 2-3 as well, not just man-to-man," said House.
Coach Jeff Cariaso, meanwhile, said it's a "little too early to judge" House as he's been with Alaska -- which has been going into a transition of its own under the new coach -- for only four days.
"I think he's still the guy that we need. He is that big presence so he just has to understand where to pick his spots," said Cariaso. "Maybe he was just surprised at the style of play here a little bit and the expectations of being an import."
"It's just him being able to get a little bit more comfortable with what we're doing," he added. "If the team itself, your locals, they still aren't a hundred percent on how we wanna do things [and] you have a new import who's young and coming in a situation where we're all not solid in regards to understanding everything, it makes the challenge even more [difficult]."
House said he wants the team to take it one step at a time instead of looking at the bigger picture on Sunday, where the Aces will try to stun defending champion Magnolia to finally barge into the win column.
"Just take it game by game, get a win on Sunday and go from there. We can't get ahead of ourselves, we just gotta take each game by game. If you keep looking ahead, that's how you go to 0-4. We gotta lock in on the game each quarter, break it down to small segments and win each segments, take it from there and hopefully we can improve and make the playoffs," said House.