Can Blackwater Beat Streaking Gin Kings?

LA Tenorio of Barangay Ginebra
(Photo by the PBA Media Bureau)

Leo Isaac says the Elites are “STRONGLY MOTIVATED” to beat Ginebra

For any team to be able to beat a well-coached, a well-oiled team like the Barangay Ginebra Gin Kings, you will need more than just a talented team. You will need a disciplined team because you are talking about a Tim Cone-coached Ginebra squad that has won the last two of the Governors’ Cup championships so you’ll definitely need all the help you can get especially if you’re a mid-field team like the Blackwater Elites.
According to Head Coach Leo Isaac, the Elites are STRONGLY MOTIVATED to start 2018 by handling the Gin Kings their first win of the conference. Coming off a victory over the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters to end their 2017 campaign, the Elites are hoping to move to 2-1 record after tonight’s game although Blackwater knows for themselves that they are faced with a daunting task of defending the powerful Twin Towers of Greg Slaughter and Japeth Aguilar.

Question: Can the Elites actually beat the Gin Kings fair and square?

Realistically and statistically, the odds are against the Elites but if we are to look at the performance of their notable players against Rain or Shine, you will see that Blackwater MIGHT have a shot at taking down the Gin Kings. Why? Mac Belo played one of his best games since coming into the PBA after leading his team with 25 points which included 5 for 9 shooting from the three-point line. Mike Digregorio added 23 points while rookie Reymar Jose totaled 12 points. Allein Maliksi had 10 points, 10 rebounds, and 5 assists although he went 3 for 12 from the field while coming off the bench. 

Key to victory for the Elites: Bench Production

While Blackwater has a continuously re-emerging Mac Belo plus a promising rookie in Reymar Jose, the Elites must work as a complete unit meaning the bench players must produce more than 17 points- the numbers they had against Rain or Shine. And they won despite 53 points from the bench of Rain or Shine. 
You can’t just rely on your starters to carry your team and save the day. Especially not against Ginebra. 

Prediction: Ginebra will win against Blackwater. 

Twin Towers’ Strength is Too Much for Romeo-Less Batang Pier

LA Tenorio had 17 points and 7 assists for Ginebra. (Photo by the PBA Media Bureau)

GlobalPort Falters in the 4th Quarter

The Global Port Batang Pier dropped their first game of the season without their superstar, Terrence Romeo. And their agony looked to continue as the three-time scoring champion was still on street clothes during their first game for 2018.
Despite Sean Anthony’s 29 points and a double-double from Kelly Nabong, the Barangay Ginebra Gin Kings fought their way back late in the 4th quarter after falling behind by as much as 9 points to get their 2nd win of the Philippine Cup after beating the Batang Pier, 104-97.
And here’s how the Gin Kings did it:


Twin Towers Displayed Full Strength

If there’s one thing that makes Ginebra a dangerous team to play against at any given game, it’s the dominance of their Twin Towers of Japeth Aguilar and Greg Slaughter. Against the Batang Pier who was helpless without Terrence Romeo, Aguilar led the way with his 21 points on top of 9 rebounds and 6 blocked shots. GregZilla on the other hand, had 18 points, 9 rebounds, and 5 blocked shots. With former versatile forward, Joe Devance now a free agent, it will be expected that Tim Cone will now rely more on his twin giants especially in games against the elite teams in the league.

Tinyente’s Brilliance

What would Ginebra do without LA Tenorio? They wouldn’t have won the Governors’ Cup for two consecutive seasons without him. And when the Batang Pier appeared for an upset victory, LA Tenorio nailed two three-pointers in the 4th quarter to ignite Ginebra’s comeback run. When the smoke cleared up, Ginebra’s Iron Man had 17 points, 5 rebounds, 7 assists and 2 steals for another all-around performance.

Fourth Quarter Composure

To begin with, Global Port actually led as high as 11 points in the early moments of the 4th quarter before Ginebra began turning things to their favor. LA Tenorio and Japeth Aguilar took turns in scoring big basket after big basket which put a smile on Tim Cone’s face. Due to their composure, the Gin Kings were able to score 36 points in the 4th quarter alone while limiting the Batang Pier to only 20 points.

Conclusion

Will Ginebra continue to dominate even against the likes of the San Miguel Beermen? Possibly as long as the Twin  Towers are healthy. On the other hand, people shouldn’t count Global Port out of the playoff picture just yet. They have yet to win a game this season but when Terrence Romeo gets back, things will get better for the Batang Pier, eventually. 

Balls-Eye: Will June Mar Fajardo Bag his 5th Straight MVP Award this Season?

June Mar Fajardo shooting over Sonny Thoss

As the San Miguel Beermen looks to dominate this year’s Philippine Cup with their geared up twin towers, the Kraken June Mar Fajardo is also eyeing to reign as a 5-time MVP.

But would it still be possible?

Rumors say that Christian Standhardinger empowered the Beermen. But with him being Fajardo’s partner, would he hinder the Kraken’s MVP streak?
Another huge monster to test June Mar’s limits is of course the biggest man in the league Greg Slaughter. Ginebra is a team that can win championships and thus increasing Slaughter’s chance of bagging the MVP award this year.
More or less, the Most Valauable Player Award would be hooked by any of the four towering beasts of the Beer and Gin. It would be an ultimate test of strength, endurance, power and most importantly, consistency.
June Mar apparently is the toughest of the four. Greg has the size but is a bit lousy, Japeth has the boosted jumping power while Standhardinger’s cards remain concealed.
Fajardo already became MVP 4 times with Japeth and Greg’s presence. The only big question mark left unanswered is on his new teammate Standhardinger. Nevertheless, we should not neglect Japeth and Greg’s improvement.

Would the MVP showdown hinder SMB’s success?

Most probably not. Big guys do not tend to frequently work together. Most of the time plays start with the small guys and finishes with the big men. SMB may balance their inside scoring fairly with their two towers. Thus, both would have their own break to prove themselves. It may be a healthy competition as these two guys would go all out just not to waste every single opportunity at hand.

Historical MVP Award

If either June Mar or Christian bags the award, it would be historical no matter who stands out. June Mar would be the first to be crowned with 5 straight MVP’s. In fact he’s the first to have 4 straight. On the other hand, Standhardinger may be the 2nd to Benjie Paras if he would be the MVP and if SMB would be the champ or would gain dominance throughout the season.

Balls-Eye: 5 Best Power Forwards in the PBA

The guys with the perfect balance will always be the powerforwards. In all aspects they come in midway of Centers and Guards. But what makes some of them standout?

We’ll find out as we run down the 5 best power forwards we have in the Filipino Basketball.

1. Ranidel De Ocampo

Ranidel de Ocampo

A.K.A RDO, he is one of the finest forwards any team would want to have. Ranidel’s got the size to match even with centers in rebounding and post up plays. What makes him special? With his size, he could impeccably deliver from beyond the arc. A dangerous weapon for guys with the size advantage. R.D.O can take all sorts of shots depending on his defender.

2. Marc Pingris

Of course the Pinoy Sakuragi would never go out of sight when talking about some of the best power forwards. Despite having a relatively small size, he is a huge defensive obstacle. It is proven. Even the mighty Japeth Aguilar gets blocked and is having a hard time during post up matches.

3. Calvin Abueva

Calvin Abueva
The beast would be considered the player with an extra impact on the floor. He’s got the intensity. He even gained prominence with the ‘Calvin Crush’ wherein he goes full speed against any defender and bangs it with his full body strength, not caring whoit is in front whether a center or a guard. He just hustles on both ends.
Another good thing about Calvin is his presence which irritates opponents and somehow gets them out of focus.

4. Japeth Aguilar

Japeth Aguilar against Marc Pingris
A 6 foot 9 inch gut with incredible jumping power? It is non other than Japeth Aguilar. Japeth’s got the length and the strength to go all out.
Another good thing in Japeth is that his size does not hinder his speed. He frequently finishes fast break attacks in a spectacular alley oop jams. An excellent finisher and hype provider for the team and for audiences of course.

5. Rafi Reavis

Rafi Reavis

Reavis could match Aguilar’s length but he is an even better player when talking about the battle under the rim. Aguilar could shoot from the perimeter but Reavis is more efficient when cleaning up missed shots and scoring in the shaded area. Reavis is a perfect match against this era’s twin towers.

Highlights of the number one forward on our list ( Ranidel De Ocampo)

Twin Tower Era: Who’s Magnolia Hotshots’ Trump Card?

Japeth Aguilar and Greg Slaughter
Despite Magnolia’s loss on Christmas Classico, it turned out to be a healthy one. They seem to have drawn a trump card concealed inside their deep deck. A duo who could stop and counter the force of the threatening era of the twin towers of San Miguel and of course their recent opponent, Brgy Ginebra.
Facing the Brgy Ginebra squad is and will always be an ultimate test of character. Talking about Greg and Japeth combination, the shaded area seems to be preoccupied all the time due to this enormous beasts.
However, the Hotshots somehow kept up with the very dense Ginebra interior. The wall-like defense of the twin towers became the key for Hotshots to unlock their hidden weapon that could match the towers.

Smaller but still with power

Who can be able to stop the Pinoy Sakuragi Marc Pingris whenever he post-ups. He’s a great match against Japeth Aguilar despite the height disadvantage. Ping just outwits size with strength and agility. Another good thing about Pingris is that he could deliver one-handed floaters — a great way to shoot over huge players.

How about Gregzilla?

Slaughter might be the biggest player but still, he’s not the only big man existing in the league. Magnolia’s roster has a smaller but way faster and athletic player. Ian Sangalang hustled in their recent game both offensively and defensively.
What’s Sangalang’s advantage over Slaughter?
If Slaughter’s advantage were size, Sangalang’s got the speed. He could run in transition and finish fast breaks. In addition, fast breaks are twin towers’ weakness due to the high pace of the transition which they commonly could not keep up. Therefore, Sangalang can be considered the biggest man in terms of transition baskets.

Conclusion

You may never win in a head to head battle against players way bigger than you are but there is always some weak points that when taken advantage of, will be very effective and fatal. The key to outplaying the twin towers is through individual agility and team’s high offensive pace.

Balls-Eye: 3 Weaknesses of the Strong Tower Japeth Aguilar

Japeth Aguilar with a teardrop against Hugnatan

During the long years of Greg Slaughter being absent in the Gin Kings roster, Japeth Aguilar somehow, someway filled in the gap left, stepped up his game and leveled up to be a lot stronger than before.
But behind his seemingly unstoppable power, still, there are some weak points in every beast where he is most vulnerable with or can be considered as his weakness.

1 – Japeth Can’t Drive

Maybe sometimes he manages to deliver, but most of the time when he has the ball from the outside and he tries to dash inside, it frequently ends up as a missed shot or a loose ball. His size being his strength becomes his weakness when he tries a hard drive to the basket. Small guys easily touch the leather off his possession.

2 – Japeth’s Poor Perimeter Shooting

Since he could not drive, what’s left to do is to pass or take a shot but of course, you cannot always pass because at times your opponent will do a tight man to man defense wherein no one will be left open to execute an emergency pass. So all that’s left to do is to take a moderately long ball, which he frequently misses. Fajardo’s shooting is much more accurate than his as of now.

3 – Scattered on the floor

It may have been good if he’s consistent on all spots of the court but the fact is he isn’t. Ginebra has the twin towers but Japeth isn’t sticking on the shaded area. Yes, before Greg Slaughter can handle it alone. But this coming season, they aren’t the only twin towers in the house, SMB now has their own duo that is threatening to take them down.
All in all, Japeth is still an efficient player but here are just some of the areas where his strength hasn’t conquered yet. Who knows, maybe this season in a snap his gameplay would evolve.

PBA Governors: SMB, Ginebra and TNT are Teams to Beat in Philippine Cup

A Wheeler’s Opinion: SMB’s star power will dominate anew

(Photo by  the PBA Media Bureau)
If you watched the official launching event for the upcoming 43rd season of the PBA, you wouldn’t believe that the 12 PBA governors were once divided with regards to whether or not Chito Narvasa should stay on as PBA commissioner. For one event, the 12 teams are united behind the fact that the new season will open on December 17, 2017, when the defending Philippine Cup champions, the San Miguel Beermen open their title defense against the Phoenix Fuel Masters. 
There were no visible tension or any sort seen during the launching event and there were many questions that were thrown to the governors themselves. Among the questions that were asked was this:
Who among the 12 teams will be the team to beat in the season-opening Philippine Cup?
Three teams stood as the answers for the majority of the 12 teams:
  1. San Miguel Beermen
  2. Barangay Ginebra Gin Kings
  3. Talk N Text KaTropa
For starters, picking the Beermen as one of the teams to beat this upcoming conference comes as no surprise because they are first and foremost, the defending champions. The Gin Kings will have Greg Slaughter and Japeth Aguilar plus a continuously improving Scottie Thompson as they will enter the new season following a successful Governors’ Cup run which ended in a championship celebration. The KaTropa, despite being kicked out of the semifinals by Ginebra in the last conference, will again be bannered by Asia’s best point guard, Jayson Castro, and big man Troy Rosario. The three teams will be the teams to beat indeed. 

Question: who will win it all?

Answer: The Beermen.
Why?
Simply put it this way. Neither Ginebra nor TNT has someone to even match up against the 4-time MVP, June Mar Fajardo. Tim Cone can employ sending his Twin Towers to double team Fajardo but we all know that won’t work as SMB also has shooters. And, the best starting 5 is still intact, folks. No other team in the league has that powerful all-locals starting unit.

Conclusion

While SMB may be the among the favorites to win it all, anything is still possible. After all, who would have thought that the finals series between Ginebra and the Meralco Bolts would go to a Game 7? 

New Twin Towers in Town: Dominance of Standhardinger and Fajardo is Inevitable

And PBA fans should expect more from one of the league’s most hyped rookies

He has contributed to the success of our national team which won the gold medal in the SEA Games earlier this year. He joined the draft and was traded to the San Miguel Beermen even before the draft day itself. 
However, we all have to wait until Christian Standhardinger’s stint in the Asian Basketball League is over before we can see him play in the PBA. But the long wait will be worth it especially for the Beermen. Why? Standhardinger will get to team-up with the Kraken himself, the now 4-time MVP, June Mar Fajardo.
And if you look at how Standhardinger has been playing in the ABL as of late, particularly his last game against the Mono Vampire when he exploded for 40 points while grabbing 17 rebounds, 5 steals and 3 assists, then imagine what he can do once he starts playing alongside Fajardo as they are about form one of the league’s most formidable frontline duos that could challenge the dominance of Gnebra’s Twin Towers of Japeth Aguilar and Greg Slaughter. 
Or, can they actually challenge Aguilar and Slaughter once the two teams face each other?
Japeth Aguilar and Greg Slaughter may be taller than both Fajardo and Standhardinger but talent-wise, it’s a good battle. However, if we are to look back at the previous battles between the two teams,  Greg Slaughter and Japeth Aguilar needed to double-team the Kraken just to limit his production which enabled the shooters of San Miguel to hit their outside shots. Now, put  Standhardinger into the mix and you now have two dominant big men.
One of the reasons why the Fajardo-Standhardinger duo will be a force to be reckoned is the fact that San Miguel already has the best starting unit in the league right now whether they have an import or not. In addition to this, the arrival of Standhardinger will also allow Leo Austria to have one of his starters come off the bench, possibly Arwind Santos because Standhardinger will likely to start at the power forward position unless, Austria will put Santos at the 3 spot.

Conclusion

The Fajardo-Standhardinger duo looks scary on paper but who knows, this is the duo that can perfectly match-up against the Barangay Ginebra Gin Kings. And who knows? Christian Standhardinger might give June Mar Fajardo a run for his money. But of course, we all have to wait until he makes his PBA debut. 

Exclusive Video: Japeth Aguilar and Girlfriend Dives at Puerto Galera, What An Amazing View

Japeth Aguilar can fly but now he can also dive!

Japeth Aguilar getting ready to dive in the Puerto Galera water. 

Congratulations Japeth Aguilar! Now a Certified Open Water Diver

Photo from left Powcaster Eugene Tabuccol, Japeth Aguilar, Cassy Naidas, Rudolf Maeirhofer and Dive Master Mark Ilagan of Dive You Go
Just a few weeks before the PBA opening night, Japeth Aguilar is taking advantage of the days left of his hard-earned vacation, together with girlfriend Cassy Naidas and friend Rudolf Maeirhofer. They went to Puerto Galera in Mindoro for diving lessons.

Japeth Dives with Powcast

Japeth Aguilar Dives with Powcast.net photographer and member Eugene Tabucol who happens to also be a licensed diver tasked to document the diving session. From Sunday to Wednesday, Aguilar, who is known for his high flying acts in the PBA has added another feather in his cap by becoming a Certified Open Water Diver.
An open water diver course consists of three main phases: Knowledge Development to understand basic principles of scuba diving, Confined Water Dives to learn basic scuba skills and Open Water Dives to use your skills and explore!
Scuba diving is like driving a car, you can’t do it without a license or being certified.
Powcaster Eugene with Japeth Aguilar
Watch the video of Japeth Aguilar Diving!

If you want to learn how to dive please visit our friends from:

What to Expect: Manila Clasico Christmas Edition to be Played at the Philippine Arena

Big crowd expected on Christmas Day

(Photo by the PBA Media Bureau)
The last time the Barangay Ginebra Gin Kings played at the Philippine Arena, they ended the night as back-to-back Governors’ Cup champions. That game was attended by 54,086 PBA fans. And since it included the crowd darlings, the Gin Kings, a big percentage of the crowd was seen wearing red shirts. Red is the color of Christmas. Red is the color of Ginebra’s dark jersey. And, red is the color of love. Come Christmas Day, we can expect the Philippine Arena to be filled with red-shirted fans anew as the PBA announced that the Gin Kings and Magnolia, formerly the Purefood Star Hotshots, will face off for the Christmas Edition of the Manila Clasico.


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The announcement was made along with the partial release of the initial schedule of the PBA Philippine Cup which is originally set to open on December 17, 2017 which will feature the San Miguel Bermen opening their title defense against the Phoenix Fuel Masters right after the opening ceremony which will happen at the Big Dome.
The venues for the initially scheduled games will include the Big Dome, Cuneta Astrodome, San Juan Arena and of course, the Philippine Arena which will also be the venue for the first Christmas Day game which will feature the NLEX Road Warriors versus the GlobalPort Batang Pier right before Manila Clasico.
Speaking of the Manila Clasico, who will win on Christmas Day?
The Gin Kings are coming off a championship run so we can expect them to come out firing on all cylinders come to the Philippine Cup and against Magnolia, expect the Twin Towers of Greg Slaughter and Japeth Aguilar to dominate the battle as they have always been doing in the past. With a healthy GregZilla, nothing is impossible for the Gin Kings.

Conclusion

Assuming that the season will open on schedule, Manila Clasico on Christmas Day at the Philippine Arena will be a big boost not just for Ginebra but for the entire PBA community because it will allow the fans to have a PBA Christmas at the biggest dome in the world. Just imagine the happiness of the fans if Ginebra will win the game. Priceless!

Joe Devance Missing the Philippine Cup: How will it Affect Ginebra?

Joe Devance’s absence will be huge

Joe Devance has played a crucial role in Ginebra’s championship run during the Governors’ Cup. 
Make no mistake about it, folks. Joe Devance is one of Coach Tim Cone’s favorite players. Why?
Joe Devance has been one of the few PBA players who can effectively play any position and defend any position as well. That’s what makes JDV unique. But more than anything else, ever since Joe Devance came over to the Barangay Ginebra Gin Kings and reunite with Tim Cone, good things have started to come Ginebra’s way.
Joe Devance has been a vital piece to Ginebra’s back-to-back Governors’ Cup championships- both against Allen Durham and the rest of the Meralco Bolts. In the 2017 edition of the Governors’ Cup Finals which went to a Game 7, JDV has produced notably good numbers and came to the Gin Kings’ rescue whenever they needed a basket or a defensive stop. His height and wingspan makes him a perfect complement to Ginebra’s Twin Towers of Greg Slaughter and Japeth Aguilar. JDV has averaged 12 points and 5 rebounds during the closing conference of the 2016-2017 season.

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However, with the upcoming Philippine Cup starting on December 17, there’s one problem that may affect Ginebra’s chances this conference especially if they want to challenge the San Miguel Beermen. According to Coach Tim Cone, Joe Devance has recently gone under the knife to remove a bunion in his left foot which has been bothering him during the past conferences. This surgery will require JDV out of basketball-related actions for the next 3 months.

How will this affect Ginebra?

For starters, Ginebra will lose one of its power forwards who can shoot and score threes. Additionally, someone from the bench of Tim Cone will need to double his effort to at least, cover that 12 points per game that they will be losing. 
Fortunately, Ginebra will have Art Dela Cruz back as he has recovered from his injury. And, JDV’s absence will enable Tim Cone to field rookie Jett Manuel, Ginebra’s first-round pick in the PBA Draft.

Conclusion

One way or another, Ginebra will miss the services of Joe Devance once the season kicks off. But who knows? It might be a blessing in disguise. Who knows? JDV might come back as a better player eventually. For now, Ginebra will have to do with their current roster. 

By the Numbers: Three BIG Things that Made Ginebra Champions Anew

Just what went well for the Gin Kings in last night’s Game 7?

LA Tenorio

Tinyente bagged another Finals MVP award as he led Ginebra to another title. (Photo by the PBA Media Bureau)

As the 2017 PBA Governors’ Cup trophy was finally into the air inside the Philippine Arena, as the confetti rained down the court, as the crowd mobbed the winning team, Tim Cone and the rest of the back-to-back champions, the Barangay Ginebra Gin Kings finally released a sigh of relief. 
After all, they saw the Meralco Bolts cut down a double-digit lead to just 4 points with just under a minute to play in the 4th quarter. Fortunately, time was on the side of the Gin Kings as they held on to win Game 7 with a 101-96 decision in front of a mostly pro-Ginebra 54,000+ crowd that watched the rubber match. 
Now, let’s check out the numbers that enabled Ginebra to win it all, finally:

Tinyete’s 26 Points= Another Finals MVP Award

If there was one specific player who deserved all of the praises, it’s none other than one of the smallest guys from either team, Lewis Alfred Tenorio. His 26 points, built on 4 long range bombs, 4 assists and 2 steals in 41 minutes of action gained him another Finals MVP award to add to his already full resume. 
Mind you, folks, this guy was playing all conference long with an injured arm but decided to wait until the end of the season to undergo a needed surgery. 
Now that the season has ended with Ginebra being the champs, again, Tinyente’s sacrifices were all worth it. That, folks, is the living example of Ginebra’s NEVER SAY DIE attitude and whether you like him or not, Tenorio deserves a drop of your respect. 

50% Field Goal Shooting: The Less. The Better

Sometimes, you don’t need to shoot more to win a basketball game, especially in a championship game. The Meralco Bolts took 84 SHOTS in Game 7 and they only made 35 of them. In contrast, Ginebra only took 77 shots and yet they made 39 of them, a 50% field goal shooting. Efficient, isn’t it? They also better at the 2-point area (53%) and from long distance (43%). Now that’s how you win a championship. By hitting your target instead of missing them, horribly. 

55 Points for Ginebra’s Giants

As mentioned by this basketball pundit on wheels during the entire series, one of Ginebra’s main strength against the smaller Bolts is their height. And if you watched Game 7 last night, then you saw how the bigs of Ginebra continuously pounded on the inside while Justin Brownlee sniped from the outside.
The result: Brownlee, Greg Slaughter, Japeth Aguilar and Joe Devance went on to combine for 55 points- 23 from Brownlee alone. 
That’s a big difference compared to the output of Meralco’s bigs who got 26 points from Allen Durham and only 7 from Reynel Hugnatan. Now that’s dominance.

Conclusion

Meralco may have lost, again but that doesn’t make them any weaker. No. It’s just that they’ve lost to a better team, again. They’ve lost to a hungrier, bigger and more talented team in Ginebra. That’s the reason why the Gin Kings are kings again.

Back to Basics: 3 Things Ginebra Must Do Tonight to Win it All

Failure to do these things might force a Game 7. Might

Scottie Thompson 2017 Governors Cup Finals
With Sol Mercado out, the rest of the Ginebra guards must step up in Game 6. (Photo by the PBA Media Bureau)

After a convincing outing from LA Tenorio who was held scoreless in Game 4, after Greg Slaughter started for the first time in the series and scored 17 points in their Game 5 victory at the Philippine Arena which was witnessed by more than 34,000 fans, the Barangay Ginebra Gin Kings, the defending Governors’ Cup champions, can clinch the title with a win tonight in Game 6 at the Philippine Arena. 
The only question is: Can the Gin Kings pull it out and celebrate tonight? It’s up to the Gin Kings themselves. But one thing is certain: the Meralco Bolts will rely on Allen Durham anew to carry the majority of the Bolts’ scoring load come tonight’s Game 6.
Now, we all know that the Bolts can definitely force a Game 7 on Friday IF they can hit their target, especially from rainbow country. If you’re Ginebra, wouldn’t it better if you can celebrate tonight rather than go home and prepare yourselves for a slugfest on Friday? Should the Gin Kings do the things below, there won’t be a Game 7 to worry about:

Limit Allen Durham’s Output

Okay. This is easier said than done for any team who is playing against the Meralco Bolts. Keep in mind, folks, Allen Durham is a two-time Best Import awardee and his numbers don’t lie either. In their Game 5 defeat, Durham scored 27 points, leading all scorers from both teams, on 52% field goal shooting. He also had 19 rebounds, 5 assists and 3 blocks If anything, the Gin Kings should be wary of Durham’s capability to unleash a scoring onslaught especially now that the Bolts’ season is on the line. 

What to do? 

Tim Cone should put his best defenders on Allen Durham. Throw in double teams whenever Durham is in the post. Frustrate him and you take away Meralco’s power source. Whoever Tim Cone will be sending in to guard Durham will have his hands full. Now, who among the giants of Ginebra can defend the smaller Durham? 
Answer: All of them. Greg Slaughter, Japeth Aguilar, Justin Brownlee and yes, even Joe Devance can make life miserable for Allen Dirham especially on the offensive end primarily because of the formers’ height advantage.

The Guards Must Step Up

With Sol Mercado out indefinitely due to the injury that he sustained back in the closing seconds of Game 4 which was won by the Bolts, the play setting duty falls to the hands of Tineyte, LA Tenorio who played for 40 minutes in Game 5 and scored 17 points. Earlier this week, Tenorio indicated that he doesn’t mind playing for 48 MINUTES if the need arises but, he doesn’t have to do that, right? 

What to do?

Scottie Thompson MUST step out of his shooting slump and take parts of the defensive pressure away from Tenorio because in case you’ve forgotten, Tenorio is already playing with a problematic arm so the last thing you will need is Tenorio aggravating that arm injury due to the fact hat the rest of the Ginebra guards are struggling to pick up the pace. 
Tim Cone may even opt to allow Jay Jay Helterbrand play for longer minutes because whether we like it or not, Helterbrand can still contribute as we saw in last year’s Game 6 of the Governors’ Cup Finals. 
And, what a better way to clinch a title than with Helterbrand teaming up with old pal, Mark Caguioa, on the floor, for one final time, for possibly their final championship run, together? Fans will definitely go nuts if the old Fast and the Furious duo takes the court for one final ride.

Shut Down Meralco Early On

Let’s make this simple, folks. Bury the Bolts during the early goings of the game and don’t allow Durham and company to turn the tide in their favor. In Game 1, Ginebra finished the first quarter with an 11-point lead and then outscored Meralco, 25-16 in the fourth quarter which enabled the Gin Kings to win the game. If Ginebra can do that again tonight, then the party starts right after the final buzzer.

Conclusion

Ginebra has been in the same situation last year when they were one-win away from the title. If they do the things above, they won’t be needing a buzzer-beating three-pointer from Justin Brownlee to take it all. 

By the Numbers: 3 Electrifying Reasons Why Sweep is No More for Ginebra

And they can only blame themselves for it

LA Tenorio had 5 of Ginebra’s 19 turnovers in Game 3. (Photo by the PBA Media Bureau) 
After winning the first two games of the best-of-7 finals series, a sweep was inevitable for the Barangay Ginebra Gin Kings. In fact, even after the defending champions dominated the series opener, there were already predictions being made by fans that the Gin Kings would sweep the series and take their second successive Governors’ Cup championship in a snap. Nope. No sweep. No celebration for the Gin Kings just yet as the Meralco Bolts found their shooting touch in time for Game 3 and beat the champs, 94-81 to extend this series to a Game 5, to say the least.
There were many things that went terribly wrong for Ginebra but let us focus on the three main reasons that doomed them in Game 3 and their chances for a sweep:

41 Heavy Minutes for Justin Brownlee

Time and again, Game 3 saw the Gin Kings tendency to rely on their import, Justin Brownlee who had to play for 41 minutes last night. 
That- despite the fact that Brownlee wasn’t shooting efficiently the entire game as he only made 7 of 20 field goals en route to finishing 15 points, his lowest in the series, so far. He also missed 3 of his 4 attempts from deep and also turned the ball over, 3 times.  
This failed Ginebra in many ways primarily because it took away the height advantage that the Gin Kings hold against the Bolts as the Twin Towers of Greg Slaughter and Japeth Aguilar played for 29 and 28 minutes respectively Although both giants combined for 26 points, 7 rebounds and 3 blocks, they could have produced more had Tim Cone employed to give them more minutes. But that was Tim Cone’s call to make. 

19 Turnovers

In any game of basketball at any given league, you turn the ball over, you lose an opportunity to score and you give your opponents that opportunity to score at the other end. That was what exactly happened last night. 
The Bolts forced Ginebra to uncharacteristically commit 19 turnovers which the former converted into 14 points. LA Tenorio had 5 of those miscues. Those 19 turnovers can be looked at two different ways: either Meralco was defending well or, the Gin Kings were occasionally careless every time they had the possession of the orange. Either way, turnovers hurt them in Game 3 and will hurt them tomorrow if they control their turnover number.

10 Offensive Rebounds

One evidence that the Gin Kings failed to take advantage of their height advantage in Game 3: they weren’t aggressive in getting those offensive rebounds as they only managed to grab 10 rebounds on the offensive end. The Bolts, smaller team, grabbed 17 offensive boards. The only plus point in this was that Ginebra was the more aggressive team in terms of scoring more on those second chances as evident by their 13-7 advantage in second-chance points. 

Conclusion

Make no mistake, folks. The Gin Kings are expected to go all-out come tomorrow’s Game 4 and when that happens, the Bolts can only pray that their threes will hit their target because if not, then the balloon and the confetti will fall upon the fans come Game 5 at the Philippine Arena- assuming that Ginebra goes on to win Game 5, too. 

Best Import Goes to Durham but Ginebra Takes Game 2

Tenorio’s heroics moved the Gin Kings two wins away from another title

Japeth Aguilar picked up the slack left by a struggling Greg Slaughter. (Photo by the PBA Media Bureau)

One squad is aiming to take another step closer to the championship. On the other side, another team is aiming to regain their shooting touch after shooting bricks especially from the outside in the series opener. 
After a dominant win the last time around, the Barangay Ginebra Gin Kings walk into Game 2 with one goal: bury the Meralco Bolts into a 0-2 hole.The only question: Will the defending champions dominate the Bolts like they did after a 102-87 victory in the previous encounter? Or will Jared Dillinger hit his targets this time around after going 1 of 9 from the rainbow country last Friday?
Prior to tip-off, Allen Durham officially received his second consecutive Best Import award while Greg Slaughter won the Best Player of the Conference after missing a big chunk of last season after being advised by doctors to undergo a season-ending surgery for an injury.
With the Meralco Bolts yet again, settling to take more outside shots which yet again, mostly missed, the Barangay Ginebra Gin Kings, through the late game heroics of one of the smallest guys on the court, LA “Tinyente” Tenorio, were able to come through with an 86-76 victory over the Bolts to take a 2-0 lead in their best-of-7 championship series.
The offense of both squads started out flat as the score was tied at 4 apiece 4 minutes into the opening quarter. Later, a double-alley-loop play that was finished by an Allen Durham dunk gave the Bolts, a 4-point edge which was followed by a Ginebra timeout. 
Ginebra tied the game at 8 apiece but then Meralco went on a 9-0 run which was highlighted by a three-pointer by Jared Dillinger and a lay-up by Cliff Hodge to give the Bolts, a 17-8 advantage with under 5 minutes to go as Tim Cone called for another timeout. The Gin Kings responded with 6 unanswered points which narrowed the gap to 17-14. Both teams were able to pick up the pace the rest of the quarter as Meralco held a 24-18 lead after 1. Ginebra had yet to click from outside while Meralco already 2 of their 3 attempts from deep in the first quarter alone: one from Dillinger and the other one from Mike Tolomia.
Garvo Lanete began the second quarter by making a three-pointer, increasing the Bolts’ lead to 9 anew but Ginebra refused to be buried early on as the Gin Kings clamped down on D and scored the next 6 points to come within 3, at 27-24 on Mark Caguioa’s basket and Norman Black called a timeout.Then, Kevin Ferrer, the masked man of the Gin Kings, buried a trey to give the lead back to Ginebra, 31-27 with 6:07 to go as Ginebra was in a middle of a 13-0 scoring blast which held Meralco scoreless for almost 3 minutes. 
Finally, the Bolts broke their silence after Allen Durham scored on the inside but turnovers and taking contested shots mired their offense which hampered them too back in Game 1. Fortunately, Baser Amer followed 2 consecutive baskets by Durham with a lay-up of his own to tie the game at 33 all with under 5 minutes before the halftime break. Ginebra then took advantage of their heights as they scored on the 3 different possessions which gave them a 5 point lead with under 2 minutes to play in the first half. Both squads walked into their respective locker rooms for the halftime break with Ginebra holding a slim margin, at 40-37.
Japeth Aguilar led the way for the champs with 10 points and 5 rebounds while Justin Brownlee had 7 points and 7 boards in the first two quarters. Bench production was one of the major keys for the Gin Kings in the first half as the bench of Ginebra was led by Mark “The Spark” Caguioa’s 6 points.
Allen Durham, officially a 2-time Best Import awardee, had 10 points, 8 rebounds and 4 assists in the first half. Chris Newsome had already surpassed his points total in Game 1 as he already had 8 in the first half of Game 2 on 4 of 5 field goal shooting. Aside from shooting better than they did in the series opener, Meralco was also able to take advantage of their opportunities to score on the break as evidenced by their 10 fastbreak points.
Allen Durham began the 2nd half by attacking the paint but Ginebra defenders were able to block him and force another Meralco turnover in the process. 
Both teams struggled to get anything going during the first two minutes of the quarter until Baser Amer broke the dry spell on a floater to bring his team with 1 as Allen Durham drained the Bolts’ first two charities of the game to bring Meralco up, 41-40. 
Off a Ginebra miss, Chris Newsome threw a lob to Allen Durham who finished the play with a slam to make it 43-40 as the Gin Kins remained scoreless for almost 4 minutes during that time- a dry spell that was finally broken by Japeth Aguilar who slammed it home. On the next Meralco possession, Ranidel De Ocampo nailed his first trey in two games to make it 48-42. 
Later in the quarter when Meralco was up by 4 points, Scottie Thompson, who was miserable in the free throw line drained a three-pointer to decrease the lead to 51-52 but Durham answered right back with 4 straight points. 
Both teams then missed most of their next shots until Justin Brownlee tied the game at 57 all with under a minute to play in the third quarter but Garvo added another three-pointer during the closing moments of the quarter to give the Bolts, a 62,57 going into the fourth period. After attempting ZERO free throws in the entire first half, Meralco shot 11 of 13 free throws in the 3rd quarter alone.
The Gin Kings scored the first 7 points to open the final quarter to regain the lead, at 64-62 only to be answered by a long 2 from Ranidel De Ocampo to tie the game then Baser Amer made it 66-64 on another jumper during the early minutes of the quarter. A sprinting Amer later gave the Bolts, a 73-67 edge on a lay-up which led to Tim Cone calling a timeout approaching the 7-minute mark of the 4th quarter. Meralco still struggled to make their threes like they did in the first game as Justin Brownlee brought Ginebra just down at 75-73 entering the final 4 minutes of the game- a play which forced Norman Black to call a timeout. Refusing to disappear, Justin Brownlee added an inside basket to tie the game at 75 all as LA Tenorio gave the Gin Kings their first taste of the lead in a very long time on a lay-up that made it 77-75 with under 3 to play.
With Ginebra holding a slim margin, Scottie Thompson was fouled by Baser Amer, was sent to the free throw line and drained both charities which increased the lead to 4 with 1:42 to play, to the delight of the fans. Around that time, the defense of Ginebra was actually holding Meralco scoreless for more than 4 minutes until RDO lifted the spell by draining a free throw.
After Jared Dillinger uncharacteristically missed two freebies, the Gin Kings wasted away the clock then the ball landed at the hands of Lewis Alfred Tenorio who drained a long one- with barely 2 seconds left on their shot clock, to give the champs, a 76-62 advantage with 67 seconds left on the clock.To make things worse, Baser Amer tripped and turned the ball over coming off a timeout and the Bolts were forced to foul. Tenorio drained both free throws as the lead ballooned to 76-64 with barely a minute to play. After yet again, another Meralco miss, Justin Brownlee drained another pair of charities to eliminate any chances of a comeback for the Bolts.
Justin Brownlee followed up his performance in Game 1 with 19 points, 13 rebounds and 7 in yet again, another all-around game. Japeth Aguilar stepped up big time to make up for the struggles of Greg Slaughter as the former had 16 points and 8 boards. Slaughter was limited to three points on 1 of 6 field goal shooting Tenorio, arguably the hero of Game 2, added 14 points but had to bleed for his points as he made 5 of his 12 shots which include 3 of 9 from beyond the arc. So how did the Gin Kings win this game despite the struggles from notable players? Anwer: Defense. They limited the Bolts to only make a lowly 36% of their 79 attempts which also include a horrible 21% three-point shooting.
Allen Durham, despite his 25 points and 22 rebounds, failed to knot the series at one game apiece as the Bolts will have two games to prepare for Game 3 especially if they want to make a series out of this one. Both Baser Amer and Ranidel De Ocampo had 10 points each while Jared Dillinger was clanking all night along as he only made 1 out of 7 field goal attempts which a three, one of his 5 attempts from that area. No wonder why they lost. Again.
Scores:
Ginebra
Brownlee 19, J. Aguilar 16, Tenorio 14, Devance 10, Thompson 9, Mercado 6, Caguioa 6, Ferrer 3, Slaughter 3, Helterbrand 0, Jamito 0, Cruz 0, Mariano 0. R. Aguilar 0, Taha 0
Meralco
Durham 25, Amer 10, De Ocampo 10, Hodge 9, Newsome 8, Lanete 6, Dillinger 5, Tolomia 3, Atkins 0, Yeo 0, Sedurifa 0, Caram 0, Hugnatan 0, Faundo 0
Quarter scoring:
18-24, 40-37, 52-62, 86-76

A Wheeler’s Opinion: Here’s 3 Reasons Why Ginebra Will Win Again in Game 2

Make no mistake, Folks. Not even a reloaded Bolts team can dethrone the champs.

Game 1 was a glimpse of what we can expect from the Gin Kings. (Photo by the PBA Media Bureau)
If anything, the Gin Kings were just beginning to scratch the surface when they drew the first blood in the best-of-7 championship series against the Meralco Bolts after Ginebra held a double-digit lead and won, 102-87 in front of mostly pro-Ginebra fans in Lucena. 
If you were watching the game, then you know how things transpired beginning from the very moment Japeth Aguilar slammed it home during the early minutes of the first quarter to energize the crowd. During the big chunk of the game, dominance had been the theme of the game as the Bolts fell behind, came back in the 3rd quarter, but faltered for good in the 4th quarter. 
If the Bolts go on to lose Game 2, too, if they don’t start making smarter shot selections, it will be a SWEEP for the Gin Kings.
Why sweep? Let this basketball pundit on wheels explain to you the reasons why Ginebra will win the championship in 4 games, 5 at max:

1. Height is Might

This is perhaps one of the most obvious advantages that Ginebra has over Meralco. Greg Slaughter and Japeth Aguilar, dubbed as the Gin Kings’ Twin Towers, stand 7 feet and 6 feet 9 inches respectively. Joe Devance is not far away with a 6 feet 7 inches height. Import Justin Brownlee also stands at 6 feet 7 inches. So, literally and figuratively speaking, the big men of Ginebra are indeed BIG MEN. 
As painful as it is to read, Allen Durham only stands at 6 feet 6 inches, tied as being the tallest Bolt player aside from Bryan Faundo, Kelly Nabong who is suspended indefinitely, and Ranidel De Ocampo whom we all know is more of a 3 than 4 or 5. The next tallest? The injured Ken Bono. 
Now you know why Ginebra also won the rebounding battle in Game 1, holding a 59-40 rebounding edge. 

2. Ginebra is More DISCIPLINED

If you are playing for the winningest coach in the history of the PBA in Tim Cone, then you must be disciplined. Why? Discipline attracts success better than talent alone. 
In Game 1, Ginebra was the more disciplined squad with regards to their shot selection. Unlike the Bolts who were missing more than half of their attempts especially from rainbow country, Ginebra made 40 of their 87 shot attempts- good enough for a respectable 45% field goal shooting. And since they were in the lead almost throughout the series opener, the defending champs knew there was no need to rush those attempts from the three-point line as shown by their 7 of 18 shooting from long distance. 
Meralco on the other hand, had 8 makes from three but took 34 tries. No wonder why Norman Black was mad. 

3. The Brownlee Effect

The Bolts will never forget Justin Brownlee for that buzzer-beating trey in last season’s Game 6 of the Governors’ Cup Finals which clinched Ginebra’s first title in 8 years. Sure, Allen Durham is poised to win a second successive Best Import award but Justin Brownlee’s familiarity and longevity with the Gin Kings and the system of Tim Cone is one of the many reasons why Ginebra was able to reach the Finals anew. In addition to this, the bond that Brownlee has developed with the rest of the Ginebra players plays an important role especially in this series primarily because of the presence of the trust among players, especially during clutch situations.  

Conclusion:

While we can expect a Meralco fightback come Game 2, while we can expect multiple adjustments from both teams, one thing is certain: whether you’re a die-hard fan of the Gin Kings or a bitter hater, Ginebra, one way or another, will win this season’s Governors’ Cup championship. It’s not because of the free throws disparity or the fouls. It’s not because of the lack of talent of the Bolts. It’s simply because of the fact that Ginebra is a taller and a well-coached team compared to Meralco. 

And, let’s not forget the masked man, Kevin Ferrer. 

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Justin Brownlee had Another All-Around Performance to Lead the Gin Kings to Game 1 Win

Ginebra Pounds on Rested Bolts to Take Game 1

Ginebra Justin BRownlee
Justin Brownlee outplayed Allen Durham right from the first quarter (Photo by the PBA Media Bureau)

After sitting out last year’s encounter, Jared Dillinger finally got his wish: a rematch between the defending champions, Barangay Ginebra Gin Kings against the reloaded Meralco Bolts for the Governors’ Cup championship. 
While both squads are claiming that this will be a different series compared to last year’s series which was won by the Gin Kings in Game 6 after Justin Brownlee’s buzzer-beating trey, some things will remain the same. For starters, we can expect Allen Durham to go out there with the same level of intensity which carried the Bolts to their first ever Finals appearance last year. 
On the other side, both teams have received upgrades over the course of the last 12 months. For Ginebra, Greg laughter is back and playing again with the Gin Kings while the Bolts got Ranidel De Ocampo whom they got from a trade with the Talk N Text KaTropa. So yes, this is going to be a different series all throughout.

Here we go, folks. Game 1. Gin Kings. Bolts. Race to 4 Wins for the Championship.

Coming off their heated series against the TNT KaTropa, the Barangay Ginebra Gin Kings took off early in the first quarter and they held a double-digit that they never squandered as they took Game 1 of the best-of-7 championship series after defeating the Meralco Bolts, 102-87
After Baser Amer drained the first two points of the Bolts, Japeth Aguilar rose up for an electrifying dunk to start things out in Game 1. 
Both teams were able to score easily during the early minutes of the opening quarter as Chris Newsome came out running on the break and scored on a dunk to make 11-10, in favor of the Bolts. However, both squads were clanking most of their attempts from outside as they combined for 2 of 7 3-point field goal shooting during the first 7 minutes of the game. 
Despite their respective struggles from the three-point line, both the Bolts and the Gin Kings were able to make most of their baskets as Ginebra slowly began to run away as Justin Brownlee scored on a dunk plus a foul and made the ensuing free throw to give the crowd darlings a 9-point lead as Greg Slaughter finished the first quarter with another inside shot to make it 28-18 after the first 12 minutes of play. Ginebra shot 61% in the field as compared to Meralco who only made 32% of their shot attempts in the first quarter.
By the time the second quarter came along, Ginebra continued their scoring blast as the lead ballooned to 17, at 40-23 with under 9 minutes to play in the first half, prompting a much-needed timeout from Norman Black. Meralco made a run to cut the deficit down to 12 but the masked man, Kevin Ferrer drained a three-point to put the lead back to 15, at 45-30 approaching the 6:00 mark of the 2nd quarter. Meralco failed to get any sort of momentum during the rest of the quarter as the deficit never went beyond 12 points as Ginebra led by 14, at 49-35 at the half. 
Justin Brownlee, who had 46 points in Ginebra’s win against Talk N Text, had 13 points and 11 boards to lead the Gin Kings in the first half while Japeth Aguilar had 9 markers. Ginebra made the most of their opportunities as they made 46% of their field goal attempts in the first including 33% from beyond the arc. Turnovers remained a problem for the Gin Kings as they had 9 turnovers in the first 2 quarters of Game 1 as compared to the Bolts who only turned the ball over, 7 times.
Allen Durham was the lone bright light for Meralco as he led the Bolts with 10 points in the first half. Nobody followed Durham’s lead as Chris Newsome only had 6 points on 3 of 9 shooting while Jared Dillinger had to settle with a 1 of 6 shooting from the 3-point line. As a team, Meralco only made 2 out of their 17 attempts from outside and that was one of the reasons why the Bolts were never in the game, at least in the first half. 
Whatever Norman Black yelled about during the break, it certainly hit the Bolts as they scored the first 4 points of the 2nd half to come within 10 points, 49-39 which forced Tim Cone to call an early timeout with barely a minute in the 3rd quarter. Capitalizing on Meralco’s struggles plus turnovers, LA Tenorio scored on 2 consecutive lay-ups to put Ginebra up, at 61-45 which led to another timeout from Norman Black. 
Slowly but surely Meralco was able to chip away from the deficit as Cliff Hodge scored on an inside basket to bring down the deficit to single digit, at 65-57 with under 4 minutes to play in the 3rd. Then, Allen Durham finished an alley-oop play from a Mike Tolomia lob to bring his team within 6. Mike Tolomia scored on a 4-point play in the dying seconds of the 3rd but Greg Slaughter slammed it home to give Ginebra, a 77-71 lead entering the 4th quarter. 
Sol Mercado drained one from outside to score Ginebra’s first three points of the 4th period to put the lead back to double digits. As for the Bolts, they started to miss their shots and they began making mistakes which allowed Ginebra to run away and take a 13-point lead heading into a Meralco timeout with 8:09 left on the clock. Kevin Ferrer was later left wide open in the three-point line, made the shot, gave the Gin Kings a 91-75 advantage and forced, yet again, another Meralco timeout. Justin Brownlee later made another trey for Ginebra to give his team, a 21-point lead as the defending champions were never threatened the rest of the way.
Justin Brownlee scored 32 points, had 19 rebounds and 6 assists. Ginebra’s Twin Towers of Japeth Aguilar and Greg showed that height is might indeed as they scored 15 and 14 respectively. The Gin Kings were shooting better in the field, making 47% of their 87 attempts. They also had a 19-8 edge in fastbreak points and a 16-8 advantage in second-chance points.
Meanwhile, Allen Durham, the reigning Best Import, had 27 points and 14 boards to lead the Bolts who faded away in the 4th quarter coming back alive in the closing minutes of the 3rd frame. Baser Amer added 14 while newcomer Mike Tolomia added 10 off the bench. One of the reasons why Meralco fell behind early on and even faltered after coming back into the game was their three-point shooting. 
Jared Dillinger only made one of his 9 attempts from long distance. Ranidel De Ocampo was even worst, missing ALL of his 4 attempts from deep. As a result, the Bolts only made 23% of their shot attempts from long distance, a far cry to Ginebra’s 38% 3-point shooting.
Scores:
Ginebra – 102
Brownlee 32, J. Aguilar 15, Slaughter 14, Ferrer 11, Tenorio 10, Devance 9, Mercado 7, Thompson 2, Caguioa 2, Helterbrand 0, Jamito 0, Cruz 0, Mariano 0, R. Aguilar 0, Taha 0
Meralco – 87
Durham 27, Amer 14, Tolomia 10, Hodge 8, De Ocampo 8, Newsome 6, Dillinger 6, Lanete 6, Hugnatan 2, Atkins 0, Yeo 0, Sedurifa 0, Caram 0, Faundo 0
Quarter Scoring:
29-18, 49-35, 77-71, 102-87

Defense Wins it for Ginebra! Spoiled Grand Slam Hope of SMB

Ginebra enters the semifinals after dominance against the Beermen

Greg Slaughter helped contained the Kraken’s offensive output. (Photo by the PBA Media Bureau)
This is the quarterfinal match-up that everyone wanted to see. You see, this match-up will decide which reign will end. On one side, the Barangay Ginebra Gin Kings want to make it a back-to-back Governors’ Cup titles. For the San Miguel Beermen, a win here will extend their season and keep their chances of winning a rare Grand Slam. There are many things that are at stake in this specific game. And by the way, we got to see another battle between two Cebuano giants in Greg Slaughter and June Mar Fajardo.
The Barangay Ginebra Gin Kings anchored on their defense to frustrate the San Miguel Beermen, leading to a 104-84 victory which saw the Beermen’s hopes for a Grand Slam crumbled down to Earth. In effect, the Gin Kings will now have to wait for the winner of the do-or-die game between the TNT KaTropa and the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters.
Both the Gin Kings and the Beermen immediately went to work on offense right after the tip-off which saw the lead switched hands multiple times before the 1st quarter ended with a tie, at 23 apiece. Justin Brownlee scored the first points of the Gin Kings in the second quarter on a three-pointer as Ginebra opted to throw double teams on Fajardo every time he had the ball on offense which resulted in contested shots or turnovers. Brownlee added another trey to put the Gin Kings up by 9, at 34-25 with under 9 minutes to play in the quarter. Nothing went well on the Beermen’s offense as they were either blocked by Ginebra’s big men, forced into difficult shots or turnovers. San Miguel went without scoring a single point during the 5-minute span that Ginebra went on an 8-0 run until Terrence Watson scored on a jumper to end the dry spell with under 5 minutes before the halftime break.
At the half, the Gin Kings were up, 45-32 and part of that success can be associated with Brownlee’s performance which produced 20 points while making all 4 three-point attempts. But, it was Ginebra’s defense in the second quarter which made life miserable for the Beermen who were only limited to 9 points during the entire quarter. Fajardo on the other side, had 9 points on 4 of 8 field goal shooting although he had 11 rebounds to his name. No bench players from Leo Austria’s team has scored during the first 24 minutes of action as compared to the 6 bench points of Ginebra.
Just like they did in the second quarter, the Gin Kings opened the second half with another three-pointer, this time from LA Tenorio.  Unlike in the second quarter where they struggled to score, the Beermen were able to cut down a double-digit deficit to 9 after June Mar Fajardo added another 2-point field goal, forcing Tim Cone to yell for a timeout with 7:02 to go in the quarter. The Beermen’s’s incapability to sustain a scoring was what one of the many things which kept them behind as Ginebra found a wide variety of ways to score which included a dunk by Brownlee in the dying seconds of the 3rd as the Gin Kings entered the final quarter with the lead, 74-61.
Ginebra, again began a quarter with a pair of treys that increased their lead to 17 during the first few possessions of the 4th quarter.  Scottie Thompson added another lay-up off a steal which increased the lead, 86-65 with under 8 minutes to go and Ginebra went on unthreatened during the rest of quarter. The lead went up as high as 30 after Thompson drained a trey approaching the two-minute mark as Japeth Aguilar added another dunk.
Justin Brownlee had 37 points and 12 rebounds to lead Ginebra as they moved on into the semifinals. Joe Devance added 17 points while the twin tower of Japeth Aguilar and Greg Slaughter finished with 13 points each.  Scottie Thompson only had 7 points on 3 of 13 shooting but was a monster in the rebounding battle as he tallied 13 rebounds, 8 of them are offensive rebounds. As a team, Ginebra made 49% of their shot attempts including 50% from the three-point territory.  Bench scoring also helped the Gin Kings as they outscored their counterparts, 22-9.
Unfortunately for the San Miguel Beermen, nothing clearly went their way. They turned the ball over 20 times which the Gin Kings converted into 22 points off those turnovers. San Miguel shot poorly from beyond the arc as they only made 9 of their 20 attempts from that area.  Terrence Watson finished his tenure with the Beermen with 30 points and 22 rebounds. Fajardo, the leading MVP candidate this season, finished with 19 points while Marcio Lassiter added 13.

Scores:

Ginebra – 104
Brownlee 37, Devance 17, J. Aguilar 13, Slaughter 13, Marcelo 9 Tenorio 8, Thompson 7, Helterbrand 0, Ferrer 0, Jamito 0, Cruz, Mariano 0, Caguioa 0, R. Aguilar 0, Taha 0

San Miguel – 84
Watson 30, Fajardo 19, Lassiter 13, Cabagnot 8, Santos 6, Ross 5, Espinas 3, Heruela 0, McCarthy 0, Pessumal 0, Reyes 0, Ganuelas-Rosser 0, Agovida 0, Semerad 0, Tubid 0, de Ocampo 0

Quarterscores:

23-23, 45-32, 74-61, 104-84

Video: TNT’s Rice Jr and Castro Exploded to Gain Crucial Win Against Ginebra

TNT Makes Life More Miserable for Gin Kings with Complications

Glen Rice Jr. regained his shooting touch to help lead TNT to an important win. (Photo by the PBA Media Bureau)
If there’s one game where both teams knew that they cannot afford to lose, it’s probably this game between crowd-darling Barangay Ginebra Gin Kings against the Talk N Text Katropa. 
Why? Let’s just say that if Ginebra will lose this game, their road towards a back-to-back Governors’ Cup titles will be much complicated because we all have to remember that the Meralco Bolts can still snatch that Number 1 seed from the Gin Kings, should the Bolts win tomorrow. 
As for the Katropa, a win against the Gin Kings will enable them to finish the elimination round with an 8-3 record and should the Bolts go on to win against the San Miguel Beerman tomorrow, Talk N Text will have a fighting chance via the PBA quotient system to enter the playoffs as the number 3 team.
As it turned out, Ginebra will have to wait for the result of the Meralco-San Miguel game tomorrow to know their fate after the Talk N Text Katropa dominated them 122-98 which pushed the Gin Kings’ record to 8-3 after 11 games
The first half was a see-saw battle with Ginebra leading after the first 12 minutes of action and then TNT just started stepping on the gas at every scoring opportunity as Jayson Castro buried 3 of his attempts from beyond the arc as he led TNT with 17 points and 4 assists at the break. TNT took an 8 point lead into halftime despite the struggle of their import, Glen Rice Jr., who had 16 points on a miserable 5 of 15 shooting. 
Ginebra on the other hand only had Justin Brownlee who had 14 points at halftime to lead the Gin Kings. While Ginebra forced their opponent to make only 35% of their shots from the rainbow country, they allowed TNT to dominate the 2-point area which saw Castro and company 61% of the shots inside during the first half as compared to Ginebra who only made 42% of their shot within the 2-point area.
When the third quarter started, TNT started building a double-digit lead which reached 14 with under 8 minutes to play in the quarter thanks to Rice Jr’s aggressiveness. In addition to this, local players of Coach Nash Racela made a significant impact throughout the game to counter the earlier struggle of their import. Ginebra fell behind by as much as 17 points after a trey from Rice Jr. with under 6 minutes to go in the quarter. In fact, Ginebra struggled to sustain an offensive run as TNT would simply answer every run they make with a scoring run of their own as the lead later ballooned to 20 after another 3-pointer from who else? Glen Rice Jr. who scored 18 points in that quarter alone. RR Pogoy later hit a 3-pointer of his own to put TNT up by 22 with 4 minutes to spare. Ginebra’s Head Coach Tim Cone could only watch as his team fell behind by 17 entering the fourth quarter.
TNT wanted to make sure that they kept Ginebra at bay as they started the 4th quarter with back-to-back treys from Jayson Castro which forced Tim Cone to call a timeout 2 minutes into the quarter. The Blur would later add 2 more treys and Pogoy would score on a fastbreak dunk as TNT  continued to pound in on the points.
What doomed Ginebra in this game? Tons of things. They weren’t able to contain the 3-point shooting of TNT. They allowed Castro and company to make the most of their opportunity from beyond the 3-point line, converting a total of 17 out of 40 attempts which is a far cry to Ginebra’s 6 of 23 attempts from beyond the arc Ginebra was also outscored in terms of the fastbreak points where they only converted 6 points compared to 19 fastbreak points by TNT.
Glen Rice Jr. recovered from his early slump to lead his team with 36 points including 6 of 13 attempts from rainbow country. Castro complimented their import’s performance with 28 points on his own to go along with his 7 assists.  Troy Rosario added 15 points, which includes a perfect 3 of 3 shooting from beyond the arc, and 10 rebounds while Kelly Williams finished with 10 points and 11 boards. Roger Pogoy finished the elimination round with 15 points to lead TNT’s players off the bench. 
On the other hand, only Justin Brownlee and Japeth Aguilar managed to score in double figures for the Gin Kings as Brownlee and Aguilar finished with 28 and 19 respectively. The rest of the Gin Kings struggled miserably starting with LA Tenorio who only made 1 of his 9 attempts for his 6 points.  Joe Devance was also struggling with his offense as he only converted 3 of his 8 attempts, good for 7 points for the night. The Gin Kings cannot simply play this way if they want to win back-to-back Governors’ Cup titles.

Scores:

TNT – 121
Rice Jr. 36, Castro 28, Rosario 15, Pogoy 15, Semerad 4, Chua 4, Golla 3, Carey 2, Tautuaa 2, Siegle 2, Nuyles 0, Hernandez 0, Reyes 0, Lingganay 0, Tamsi 0

Ginebra – 92
Brownlee 28, J. Aguilar 19, Thompson 9, Devance 7, Tenorio 6, Mercado 6, R. Aguilar 4, Caguioa 4, Slaughter 4, Ferrer 3, Cruz 2, Helterbrand 0, Jamito 0, Mariano 0, Taha 0

Quarter scores:

30-31, 57-49, 88-69, 121-92

Back in 2013, Abueva Said he Wants to Play for Ginebra…Someday

Is the beast on the move?!

Where will the Beast go from here? (Photo by the PBA Media Bureau)
Over the years, Calvin Abueva has been known, loved and even hated for his aggressiveness as well as for his defensive antics that have one primary purpose: to make any player he is guarding at any given moment lose his focus, his cool and eventually, that player’s offensive game will be ruined.

That’s the kind of game Abueva has been playing ever since he came to the PBA since he was drafted by the Alaska Aces back in 2012. Even back in his college days with the San Sebastian Stags in the NCAA where he also won an MVP award, the Beast was already dominant on both ends of the court.

As the Alaska Aces ended their miserable 2017 PBA Governors’ Cup campaign with a 3-8  slate after another embarrassing defeat at the hands of the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters, nagging whispers regarding Abueva’s future with the team have been making the rounds anew. Even though it has been continuously denied by the Alaska management namely, by Head Coach Alex Compton, circulating rumors has it that Abueva may be on the move come next season.

This is despite the mere fact that both Alaska and Abueva himself, have agreed to a 15.1 million Peso, 3-year deal back in 2015- a deal that will be ending this season. Should Abueva wants to remain with the Aces, it should be easy especially considering the fact that he was considered to be a part of the Aces’ core back in 2015. Was.

If Abueva will be playing for another team come the next season, the Aces will lose a big part of themselves and the Aces themselves know that. But, Abueva wasn’t even in uniform during the Aces’ latest defeat and he has been missing tons of games this season due to personal reasons and his stint with the Gilas Pilipinas.

Should the Beast make a move, which team would be the best destination? 

The answer to that question is simple: Ginebra. As mentioned by Abueva himself in the past and earlier this season, he wanted to play for the fan-favorite Gin Kings. In fact, photos of Calvin Abueva in a Ginebra uniform have been circulating in the social media as of late and apparently, fans are clamoring for it to happen- fans of the Gin Kings and the Beast to say the least.

Here’s the question, folks, let’s say Abueva does go on to sign with the Gin Kings, will he fit in the already crowded and talented line-up of Coach Tim Cone? The answer would be a BIG YES. Why? Ginebra is known as the team who lives and dies by their “Never Say Die” mantra and when it comes to never quitting no matter the odds are, we all know that the Beast can live up to that reputation and will stand up against opposing players no matter how big they are- something that we all saw during his stint with Gilas that played in the FIBA Asia Cup in Lebanon earlier this year.

Whether or not Calvin Abueva will play for Ginebra, it’s all up to the Beast himself and, to the Alaska management, too. Abueva may have been tamed down a bit but we all know what he’s capable of. The Aces can drop him but they too, themselves know that replacing a player of Calvin’s caliber is a monstrous task for any team for that matter.

If ever Ginebra gets to sign the Beast, that alone, could change the balance in the PBA because imagine a team that has a healthy Greg Slaughter, Japeth Aguilar, Scottie Thompson who is making a name for himself too, an always reliable LA Tenorio and, the Beast, that’s a scary team. It’s like giving a monster another claw for himself.

Will Japeth Aguilar Play vs Top Team NLEX?

High flying Japeth may not play for Ginebra this Saturday against NLEX

Aguilar is a Main stay for the Gilas Pilipinas Roster 

At the Calasiao Sports Complex on August 5, Saturday, two top teams will collide in an epic out of town battle between undefeated and surging NLEX Road Warriors against the defending Commissioners Cup Champion Ginebra.
It would be an exciting ball game that you should not miss out on as two teams needed to impose dominance and assert who is the better team this conference. Both teams need to be focused and complete. Unfortunately, this may not be the case for Ginebra though.
Tim Cone was asked if Japeth would be available for NLEX during the post game interview of the game against Kia last night and he was a bit unsure of his answer.
Tim Cone noted that he was not given any memo nor any advice and even joked around that he was the last person to know.

According to sources, Team Philippines will depart on Saturday for Lebanon ahead of the August 15 FIBA Asia Tournament.
Tim Cone, however, look calme and not worried at all as he has the luxury of having another big guy in the paint in Greg Slaughter.
We will figure it out, Next man up – Tim Cone 
NLEX vs Ginebra would be a test of how truly improved NLEX team had been. The Road Warriors is enjoying the view on top with an immaculate record of 4 wins and no losses.

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Will Japeth Aguilar Play against NLEX

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Cone Wants Japeth And Joe To Get Their Offense Going.

Photo by PBA Media Bureau

Barangay Ginebra San Miguel is off to a great start after falling behind in their first game of the conference against the Phoenix Fuel Masters in an out of town game. The country’s most loved ball club who had a very impressive performance in their last conferences, clinching a title in the Governors’ cup in the previous season and made another finals appearance in the season opener conference against the tough contender San Miguel Beermen.
Cone and the rest of the squad is on a mission again this conference to try and bring the glory to their country-wide-known franchise as they prove that they can beat elite teams such as Star Hotshots who they previously gave a beating in a Manila Clasico showdown in MOA arena in front of an expectedly huge crowd.
The most winningest coach was left impressed with how their import was able to battle head to head with tall imports. Barangay Ginebra brought back their Governors’ Cup hero Justin Brownlee as their reinforcement into this conference which allows each team to bring in an import with the maximum height limit of 6’10”. The Ginebra management chose familiarity over size to try and clinch another title. But the most successful coach still wants Japeth Aguilar and Joe Devance to find their tempo and get their offense going given that they are the ones banging their bodies inside the lane with the role to fill the shoes left by Greg Slaughter.
As the Ginebra squad tries to figure out a way to get everybody involved, it is probably one of the best start in their franchise history that will eventually lead them to another Finals appearance without the help of the tallest player in the PBA, Slaughter who is expected to suit up next conference in another import-laiden conference.

Is it going to be a Japeth-less Ginebra vs Phoenix on Sunday?

Photo Credits to PBA Media Bureau

This is one thing that everyone is worried about prior to the Sunday showdown of Ginebra and Phoenix, is Japeth Aguilar going to play?

After an early exit of Japeth Aguilar in the ball game during the 2nd quarter, everyone was worrying if he got a serious injury.

Japeth Aguilar got his injury after a transition slam and hyper extending his elbow when failed to hold on to the rim and had all his weight on his right arm.

After several reports, it was just a muscle strain and nothing serious. One report said that after he got hurt, he immediately did some push ups during the half time.

He immediately went to the hospital to have an X-ray and posted a photo on FB with his girlfriend saying that it’s nothing serious and he’s gonna be fine. Well from my own opinion, he will be available to play on Sunday unless he gets some after game hurts but knowing Japeth, he has this high tolerance to pain and one good day rest will definitely lessen the possibility of him being out against Phoenix.

Tim Cone compares Japeth Aguilar to his dad Peter Aguilar during his prime

Photo Courtesy of PBA Media Bureau

During his prime years, Peter Aguilar is one of the big men in his era to have a great shooting touch in that big man category and Tim Cone has no doubt on his son’s capability to hit those long and mid range shots.

 “You remember I also coach Peter, and Peter is one of  the best shooting big man I’ve seen”. Cone stressed in the post-game interview at the Philippine Arena.

Japeth who used to bank those threes in clutch plays in the past rarely uses his shooting touches from beyond the arc each game, but this Manila Clasico showdown, he went flawless from the three point area which is unusual for himself as well.

“Japeth has great form and great ability to be that kind of player that can shoot shots like that like his dad.” Cone Said.

“Im not surprised by it and hopefully we don’t live by it.” the most winningest coach said that this development can be used in the future but they will not depend on it but will remain as one of their weapons along the way.

“Scottie got to the boards a lot, Japeth was awesome tonight on the offensive side and even defensively, we’ve been encouraging him to shoot threes and he hit threes tonight.” Cone expressed how proud he is on how Aguilar utilized his shooting ability by making 5 out of his 5 attempts from beyond the arc.