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Tuneup notes: San Mig rests starters, Ginebra’s Rodgers registers double-double in win
MANILA -- It was the first Monday of March, and newly-crowned Philippine Cup champions San Mig Super Coffee welcomed some familiar faces in their practice facility in San Juan. The Mixers battled Barangay Ginebra San Miguel in a tuneup game.
The last time the two teams met, it was a semifinals game witnessed by 25,000 less 117 people inside the Big Dome. Today, for two hours considered as ungodly for a professional baketball game, some hundreds packed the petite Ronac gym.
As early as Sunday evening, Twitter was already buzzing about the game scheduled at 11 AM the following day. Diehards proclaimed the death of the two best words in all of sports, that is, Game 7, and birthed life to what they brand as Game 8 of the semis.
San Mig plays with second stringers
However, a lot of people were surprised when San Mig Super Coffee played against Ginebra minus key figures of the title they secured in the league’s first conference. Marc Barroca, PJ Simon, James Yap, Joe Devance and Marc Pingris were all absent in the tuneup game won rather convincingly by Ginebra, 116-103. Even Tim Cone was not there to oversee the match.
“The first five is on a break right now. They took the first break. It’s a little difficult with us starting again so soon,” explained acting coach Jeffrey Cariaso, who took over Cone’s job for the match. “So ginawa namin, split yung break namin.”
The Mixers started with Justin Melton, Alex Mallari, Val Acuña, Ian Sangalang and James Mays. While Ginebra had LA Tenorio, Chris Ellis, Leon Rodgers, JayR Reyes and Billy Mamaril as first five.
“After we won the championship, we really had one day off and then the next day practice na uli. So yung nag first break, first group. So they will be back early next week. Tapos second group will be on a break. We’re just trying to transition it better so that we’ll have bodies here for James (Mays),” added Cariaso.
With the Mixers’ second and third units playing, most of the production came from the import, who scored 23 points. While, Val Acuña and Alex Mallari added, 22 and 16, respectively.
The points put up by Mays was a team-high, but for this game, he was clearly outplayed by his counterpart Leon Rodgers. The Ginebra reinforcement dominated the match from both ends of the floor scoring a game-high 38 points while contributing 11 rebounds.
Mays, who has been in the country since the Philippine Cup playoffs, did his job from inside the paint for San Mig Coffee. Compared to Rodgers who likes to play from the perimeter, Mays operated downlow and showed flashes of brilliance for his team. Aside from the dunk which signalled the start of the second half, the two rejections he had in the first quarter were probably the best plays for the former NBA D-League player.
“He’s really strong inside, obviously. Right now, his legs I think are a little tired so he’s not finishing normally as he does,” Cariaso said of Mays, who shot two airballs from the perimeter in the tuneup. “But he really is strong inside and he can pop out a little bit and hit the 10-12 footer.”
Cariaso ended his assessment by saying that Mays is a good triangle big guy.
Ginebra import continues to impress
On the other side of the court, Rodgers was doing everything for Ginebra. Fresh from a 29-point showing against Air 21 last Friday, the import continued to display his deadly form from the outside. Fact is, the three-time Dutch league MVP’s unlimited range probably overshadows some other fine departments of his game.
For several instances, Rodgers brought the ball down for Ginebra. He also has good court vision, finding and willingly giving up the leather to open teammates. As a prolific scorer from the outside, Rodgers definitely has the ability to stretch the floor for Ginebra and attract the double from opposing teams.
“It’s one of the things that I like to do,” said Rodgers of his outside shooting. “Right now I'm just trying to feel my teammates out as well as they are feeling me out. Some points in the game I was more aggressive, some points I kinda pulled it back.”
“I think it's just a balance thing - thats my role in the team - to be the balance. Whatever the team needs is what I should be able to provide. “
It should be noted that Rodgers sat out the entire fourth quarter as his hamstring tightened up. Later, the import claimed that he could have finished the tuneup if it was a game in the regular season.
“I think everything is going as planned as far as us feeling each other out, as far as the chemistry. This is a good team from top to bottom. You have guys with experience as well as guys who know how to play the game, and that's really important,” Rodgers said post game.
“Even today, you can see that we had our top two bigs did not play, and our bigs that came in and replaced those guys really didn't miss a beat.”
Ginebra coach Ato Agustin rested Japeth Aguilar after the forward underwent a platelet-rich plasma (PRP) treatment. While, Greg Slaughter was also unavailable for Ginebra due to diarrhea caused by a bad case of food poisoning.
Instead the Gin Kings went to reserves JayR Reyes and Billy Mamaril, who both made a good account of themselves in the frontcourt. Reyes, who scored 23 points, did most of the damage in the third quarter.
Officially listed as 6’5’’ 1/2 inches, Rodgers could be one of the smaller imports in the Commissioner’s Cup. Asked by Solar Sports Desk if he views this as a disadvantage in terms of playing defense on the bigger imports, he answered in the negative.
“I just came from China and a lot of the other leagues, where I am forced to play bigger imports and I think with my size, it helps me out,” said Rodgers, who in fact is gifted with good muscular frame. ”I think we would be fine. Most of the imports I am already familiar with -- James Mays and (Herve) Lamizana from the last game.”
“They have to guard me as well,” added Rodgers. “We'll be fine especially that this team have other good big guys. I think it will be a good mix.”
Agustin was in support of his import:"“Yes, I think he can defend both number four and number five. Kaya naman niya eh. Especially, pag nasa game ginu-guide niya rin yung mga locals.”
More than an offensive threat
The coach also sees the experience garnered by Rodgers from playing all over the world to carry over to Ginebra.
“Malaki matutulong niya sa scoring and yung experience niya napakaganda. Maganda yung takbo ng team namin ngayon,” he said.
Rodgers, who had previous playing experience in Netherlands, France, Germany, Puerto Rico and China among others, said that he already knows his role with Ginebra.
“Most teams that I go to, it is placed upon me to score the basketball, be the team leader, and get guys involved. Just be the glue guy and be the guy that if you need something done I can hopefully provide it or do my best to try to get it done. I don’t think my role has changed with this team.”
“I think that's one of the reasons that management has brought me in - to provide a lot of experience and leadership. Just gel with the guys like Mark (Caguioa), JJ (Helterbrand) and LA (Tenorio) that have been here for years playing in this league – really experienced guys and they know how to win. Hopefully I can bring my experience and we can blend together and come out with a championship team.”
- News Maker
- Posts : 1095
nasa coach na lang yan para magchampion an ginebra ............ kung weak ang coach, weak din ang team .................
- Posts : 9552
Location : Brgy. GINEBRA
leon rodgers scorer,team player.. malaki ang chance natin makarating sa finals..bastat wag lang masabotahe ng management nak ng teteng na talaga yan..
- New comer
- Posts : 43
Location : caloocan city
malaki pressure kay coach ato nito.... need na talaga ng CHAMPION ng Ginebra...
- First Five
- Posts : 580
sana maganda ang umpisa naten pero mas maganda ang pagtatapos..at kampeonato na yun..
- New comer
- Posts : 43
Location : caloocan city
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