BARANGAY Ginebra coach Alfrancis Chua had an inkling Marnel ‘Mac’ Baracael would deliver his best game in a Kings uniform on Sunday night.
And the sophomore swingman proved him right.
Tagged as the player most likely to wax hot by Chua before game time, Baracael didn't disappoint to help the Kings extend their winning streak to six games and, more importantly, book a ticket to the quarterfinals with a 91-90 win over Meralco in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
“Na-motivate lang kasi ako before the game sinabi ni coach na feeling niya puputok ako ngayon,” said Baracael, who was acquired from Alaska this conference in a five-team, 10-player mega-trade.
Although it was Kings import Vernon Macklin who sealed the victory by scoring the marginal basket, Baracael was just as big when the Gin Kings established a cushion in the fourth quarter where he scored 10 of his 17 points.
He said he was just in rhythm all-game long.
“Ewan ko eh. Basta pag naka-shoot ako ng unang tira ko, nakukuha ko agad yung confidence,” said Baracael, who also had six rebounds and two assists in 27 minutes of action.
He also stepped up in the absence of injured superstar Mark Caguioa.
“Si Kuya Mark halos parehas kami ng position so kailangan ko rin mag-step up. Ganun lang naman ang trabaho ko eh, pag wala yung main man, kailangan ko mag-step up.”
The former Far Eastern University Tamaraw hopes he could replicate his performance when Ginebra plays his former team Alaska on Wednesday in a game he calls “exciting” for the Kings.
“Sana magawa ko ulit, na lumabas ulit yung game ko,” he said. “Dapat nga yung nilaro ko ngayon, dun sa Alaska yun kung tutuusin eh. Gusto ko talagang makalaban ang Alaska eh.”
He feels he has something to prove against his former team.
“Hindi naman mawawala yun (emotion) eh. Nilipat ka (nila) ng ibang team so syempre kailangan mo rin mapakita sa kanila na parang mali sila na tinrade nila ako,” Baracael said.