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The only way Ginebra can beat Talk 'N Text and its vaunted half-court defense is to get into high gear with its own running game, says Kings guard LA Tenorio. Jerome Ascano
BUOYED by its win over defending champion San Mig Coffee the last time, Barangay Ginebra eyes to slay another giant in Talk `N Text when the two star-studded team clash in the featured game of the PBA Commissioner’s Cup Sunday at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.
The Kings have shown signs of life since import Vernon Macklin replaced Herbert Hill by winning two of their last three outings. The league’s most popular team now hopes to ride that momentum in their 6:30 p.m. match against the Texters before another full house at the Big Dome.
Ginebra point guard LA Tenorio said team practice has been very good of late and the energy high, thanks to the entry of the 6-foot-9 Macklin who averages 21 points, 16.5 rebounds, 3.2 assists, and 1.2 blocks in 42 solid minutes of action.
But Tenorio added more than just offense and rebounding, Macklin’s energy inside the court has been infectious.
“Mataas ang morale ngayon ng team lalo na galing sa panalo against San Mig. Naka-adjust na ang import namin saka mas alam na niya ang sistema ngayon ni coach,” Tenorio said after the Kings’ practice at the Xavier gym in San Juan.
Tenorio is aware of the Tropang Texters’ good half court defense, which is why the Kings intend to run more often at every given opportunity.
“Importante na lang ngayon na sundin namin `yung game plan namin and really play defense and make big stops. Alam namin na magaling sila sa halfcourt defense nila so we intend to run,” he added.
Talk ‘N Text has been on a roll of late, winning its last two game since Donnell Harvey came on board against Barako Bull (101-98) and Rain or Shine (86-76) that vaulted the team back to solo third spot.
Harvey’s two-game average includes 15.5 points, 9.5 rebounds and 2.5 assists in 30.5 minutes – still way below the 23.6 points, 15.8 rebounds, and 2.4 blocks average of Keith Benson, whom he replaced more than a week ago.
But coach Norman Black believes Harvey will continue to improve as the tournament progresses.
“We’re still trying to make adjustments with the entry of Donnell. We only had an opportunity to play offense in practice to make him comfortable on the court. So my battle cry is we just play good defense,” Black said.
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