A DETERMINED Barangay Ginebra eyes to bounce back strong from a bad opening night when it locks horns with Barako Bull in the main game of the PBA Commissioner’s Cup road game on Sunday at the Alonte Sports Center in Binan, Laguna.
The Kings played flat on their debut game, struggling through a suffocating Meralco defense as the Bolts dealt them an 85-74 beating.
Ginebra coach Ato Agustin admitted the game against Barako Bull won’t be easy, considering import Michael Dunigan is still not 100 percent healthy after being downed by food poisoning on Thursday.
“Ngayon (Saturday) lang siya (Dunigan) nag-ensayo. Nung Friday, nandun siya (in practice) pero di na siya masyado sumali kasi weak pa siya nun eh. Ayaw naman namin biglain kasi sobra yata 'yung tama sa kanya,” Agustin said on the eve of the team’s 5:15 p.m. match against the Energy.
Agustin, in his second tour of duty with Ginebra after replacing Jeffrey Cariaso, explained the Kings made the necessary adjustments on their offensive patterns against the Energy.
“Yung mga guards kasi namin that night (against Meralco), off night lang, but hopefully on Sunday, swertehin naman sana kami sa shooting, kasi kung pumasok lang mga shots namin eh, di magiging ganun ang resulta,” added Agustin, the 1992 league MVP.
The 51-year-old Ginebra coach said he expects his platoon of guards like LA Tenorio, Mark Caguioa, and Joseph Yeo to come out firing from the get-go.
The three veteran Ginebra guards combined to shoot just 4-of-27 overall from the field against Meralco.
On the other hand, Barako Bull coach Koy Banal is well aware Ginebra will do everything it can to redeem itself.
“They’re (Gin Kings) gonna come out strong for sure, all of them because in their minds, they cannot afford to lose against us,” said Banal.
The Energy opened the mid-season conference with a 92-70 thumping of an import-less Blackwater on Wednesday.
The Barako Bull mentor said the only way the Energy can beat a talent-loaded Ginebra side is by working hard on both ends of the floor.
“We just want to make the game close muna. Kasi ang hiling ko lang naman sa kanila eh yung best effort nila,” he added.
Barako Bull’s Nigerian import Solomon Alabi had an explosive league debut after finishing with 21 points, 22 rebounds, and five blocks, while veteran guard Sol Mercado fired 20 points, had three rebounds and issued three assists in his first game in an Energy uniform.