Relief for Ginebra

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Relief for Ginebra

Post by garrett_jax on Fri Mar 01, 2013 9:26 am

For nearly three weeks since the start of the PBA Commissioner’s Cup, Barangay Ginebra San Miguel coach Alfrancis Chua could hardly sleep and lost about 13 pounds because of stress. The Kings fell to the bottom of the standings with a 0-4 record and languished in the cellar as the league’s only winless team. There was reason to be anxious as Ginebra is the PBA’s most popular team and the millions of Barangay diehards were impatient for positive results.

Chua, 46, was doubly stressed because this was his first head coaching stint in four years after his tenure with Sta. Lucia Realty and the jury was still out in declaring whether or not he was fit for the job. The Kings’ first four games were a sorry tale of disaster. They lost a four-pointer to Air 21, bowed to Global Port by nine, were swamped by Petron by 15 and succumbed to Alaska by 15. Original import Herbert Hill couldn’t get the job done and was dispatched after three outings. Former Detroit Pistons frontliner Vernon Macklin replaced Hill but in his PBA debut last Saturday, couldn’t lead Ginebra to victory over Alaska in Tubod under unfamiliar climate conditions.

“In our first four games, we just couldn’t score,” sighed Chua. “We had open shots but the ball wouldn’t fall in.” Chua’s lament was justified as the figures were a testimony to his woes. Ginebra was last in field goal percentage at .359 and for a team that thrives in transition, averaged only 77.2 points. Worse, the Kings gave up 88 points a game so their defense was just as inconsequential as their offense.

Mark Caguioa, the reigning PBA MVP, continued to churn out top-caliber stats but Chua couldn’t rely on any other local to backstop his import. The usually dependable L. A. Tenorio, who averaged 14 points and 5.4 assists last season, couldn’t break out of a horrendous slump. He shot .209 from the floor, averaging 9.5 points and 3.5 assists in Ginebra’s four losses. In the Kings’ game against Alaska, Chua used a basic rotation of only four players who logged anywhere from 34 to 43 minutes each, meaning there was little time for anybody else. It was no wonder that in losing to the Aces, the Kings got only 14 points from the bench while Alaska drew 33. Without a fluid rotation, Ginebra had difficulty finding its rhythm and the breakdown was inevitable.

* * * *

So Chua decided to do things differently in Ginebra’s game against Barako Bull last Wednesday. He challenged the Kings to tighten up defensively as a priority. “I told the guys if we can’t score then at least, let’s make sure the other team doesn’t score, too,” he said. “That way, we don’t force the issue on offense.” Sure enough, Ginebra executed the way Chua wanted it. In the first period, Ginebra forced 10 turnovers on Barako and the Energy Cola sputtered with only 11 points.

What was evident was how Ginebra clamped down on Barako’s three-point gunners. Tenorio stuck to Josh Urbiztondo like glue, preventing a clear look from outside and forcing the Fireball either to pass or dribble. Before the game, Barako was No. 1 in three-point field goal makes at nearly 11 an outing. It was also No. 1 in three-point field goal percentage at .347. With Ginebra breathing down its neck, Barako had only three triples at the half and none in the third period when the Barangay put on its tightest squeeze. In the end, Barako managed seven triples – four below par – and hit a lowly .241 from long distance. Ginebra rode on its unforgiving defense to trounce Barako, 93-72, for Chua’s first win on the Kings bench. The Energy Cola checked in averaging 81.5 points, third in the league, so Ginebra’s defense was the key to victory.

Caguioa himself said the Kings wouldn’t have done it if not for their commitment on defense. Because of the change in orientation, Chua went to his bench, realizing to keep the defensive pressure at a high level, he needed fresh legs on the floor all the time. When the smoke cleared, 13 Ginebra players were tapped to see action and everyone scored except for Rudy Hatfield. No one logged 40 minutes or more unlike in the Alaska encounter where Macklin played for 43 and Tenorio, 40. The more equitable distribution of minutes led to 26 bench points for Ginebra, double than what the shock troopers delivered against Alaska.

* * * *

Macklin produced 21 points, 14 rebounds and four assists in 37 minutes. The former University of Florida center missed three chances to score on wide-open dunks, two off alley-oops, so with a little more familiarity, he’ll only get better. Chua said he’s sure Macklin has a lot more to show than what he’s displayed so far. At the low block, Macklin is virtually unstoppable with his killer jumphook. His problem is free throw shooting. Against Alaska, he went 2-of-9 and against Barako, he was 5-of-12. Another problem is an inability to finish facing the basket. Macklin is more comfortable posting up with his back to the hoop.

Tenorio finished with 10 points, five rebounds, six assists and three steals in 33 minutes. He could’ve added at least four more assists but teammates couldn’t connect despite his pin-point passing. The good sign for Ginebra was Tenorio looked at ease on the court, dictating the tempo, calling the plays and setting the tone on defense. Chua used a “small” combination to fuel the Kings’ transition with Tenorio at the point, Jay-Jay Helterbrand at offguard and Caguioa at the wing. Ginebra got back on track offensively with 12 fastbreak points and was relentless from the onset. The Kings were rewarded for their aggressiveness by taking 37 free throws, scoring 22.

“It’s a relief,” said Chua who broke tradition by refusing to release his ponytail like he used to whenever his team won before, an indication that in his mind, it’s not about him but about the team. “Now, I can sleep well again at night. Maybe, I can regain the pounds I lost. It feels really good to win for the first time. But we can’t relax. We play Rain Or Shine on Sunday.”

For Chua, the long wait for a first win is history. In the 2008 Fiesta Conference, Ginebra got off to a dour 0-5 start and regrouped to capture the title. This conference, the Kings went 0-4 before finally nailing their first win. Chua’s hoping the worst is over and the 2008 experience will be repeated in bringing life back to Ginebra’s never-say-die spirit.

Source: http://www.philstar.com/sports/

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Re: Relief for Ginebra

Post by MR. FAST on Fri Mar 01, 2013 5:39 pm

pati kameng mga fans parang natanggalan ng tinik sa lalamunan

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Re: Relief for Ginebra

Post by wnc19 on Sun Mar 03, 2013 2:47 pm

let's pray na maging 2-4 na tayo mamaya

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Re: Relief for Ginebra

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