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Post by skyscraper on Tue Apr 10, 2012 8:49 pm


Published on April 10, 2012

B-MEG coach Tim Cone can't help but feel sorry for Barangay Ginebra star Mark Caguioa, who has been
sidelined – seemingly for the rest of the conference – by an eye injury.

"What happened to Mark Caguioa is incredibly sad. I feel sorry for him... I hope he gets back. I'll
be praying for him," said Cone.

That compassion must be put aside, however, as Cone and his Llamados square off with the Kings
Wednesday at the start of their PBA Commissioner's Cup semifinal series at the Ynares Sports Center
in Antipolo City.

No clear favorite has been picked in the best-of-five duel as the two teams split their first two
meetings earlier. B-Meg won the first 109-93 before Ginebra bounced back with a 93-84 triumph in
their playoff for the No. 2 slot and last outright semis slot last March 30.

The loss ranged the Llamados against Meralco in the best-of-three quarterfinals, which they wrapped
up just last Easter Sunday.

Cone said the series against the Bolts helped toughen and sharpen them up. But there's still a lot
more to be achieved.

"We're happy to be in the semis, but we won't be happy if this (turns out to be) our final
destination," stated Cone. "We feel we still have some good basketball ahead of us, so we're looking
forward to this first game."

It was in that game where Caguioa injured his right eye following a nasty fall early in the third
quarter. The cut has been stitched up, but the injury turned out to be worse since his orbital
socket was also damaged and needs more time to completely heal.

"He's a true superstar, helping bring the fans in," noted Cone. "He's what we all need, whether
you're a player, coach, owner or fan."

The man nicknamed "The Spark" scored only five points then, bringing his 10-game averages down to
16.9 points, 6.4 rebounds, 2.4 assists and a steal, numbers that Kings coach Siot Tanquingcen is now
looking for from the rest of his charges.

"For sure, we won't be able to duplicate what we lose kay Mark. We just have to make up for it in
other areas of our game," said Tanquingcen.

That fact is something Cone is keenly wary of.

"They are 14 deep," said the 13-time champion coach. "Obviously, if we lost James (Yap) it would be
huge for us. That's also true with Caguioa. But... they have a lot of guys to step up for them."

One player Cone specifically singled out is Ginebra forward KG Canaleta, who came off the bench and
dropped a gamehigh 24 points against B-Meg and the defense of Yap in their playoff. "He torched us,"
quipped Cone.

But there are other Kings who could pick up the cudgels, led by import Jackson Vroman, Mike Cortez,
Rudy Hatfield and Dylan Ababou, not to mention former Llamado Kerby Raymundo, making the Ginebra
threat more widespread instead of just being centered on Caguioa.

"We have to figure out something to do against all those, something different in our regular game
planning," said Cone.

The duel is the first playoff series between the two popular ballclubs in 15 years. They also
collided in the Philippine Cup finals in 1988 and 1997 with then Purefoods prevailing in their first
matchup and Ginebra getting even in the next.

"I'm excited to be part of it," said Cone. (nc)

Source: PBA.PH
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Post by bougz on Tue Apr 10, 2012 9:08 pm

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