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    Chua considers free-wheeling Ginebra a darkhorse in title race

    Jan 18, 2013
    “Kahit pinapagalitan ko sila sa game, deep inside natutuwa ako sa nakikita ko kasi tumatakbo sila," says new coach Al Chua of the Ginebra Kings. Jerome Ascano

    BARANGAY Ginebra got pummeled inside and outside by San Miguel Beer’s well-conditioned imports. Yet, incoming coach Alfrancis Chua said he feels good seeing his team compete against a loaded squad from the ABL.

    While the Gin Kings dropped a 93-102 decision to a Beermen team led by imports Brian Williams and Gabe Freeman, Chua feels a few tweaking of the system and 6-10 American import Herbert Hill getting back to game form will be enough to make Ginebra a darkhorse in the coming PBA Commissioner's Cup.

    “Kita mo naman na may galaw eh,” Chua told Spin.ph, referring to the long-armed Hill, who was huffing and puffing as he tried to keep pace with the athletic Freeman and the heavyweight Williams of San Miguel.

    “Pero sa ngayon, wala lang siya sa kundisyon. Uunti-untiin lang namin siya. Sa ngayon kasi, pag binubunggo, di makatakbo,” he added.

    The 240-pound Hill, the Utah Jazz’s second-round draft pick in 2007, finished the game with 27 points as he managed to score on some nice low-post moves, jump hooks, and several mid-range jumpers.

    Overall though, Chua liked what he saw, particularly when he let Ginebra play freely.

    “Kahit pinapagalitan ko sila sa game, deep inside natutuwa ako sa nakikita ko kasi tumatakbo sila. That’s a positive for me. Nakikita ko na kaya naman nila dumikit eh,” said Chua, a former assistant who at the start of the New Year switched positions with former head coach Siot Tanquingcen.

    Chua said he knows expectations are pretty high for the Gin Kings when the Commissioner’s Cup opens shop on February 8. But he said the coaching staff and the players are doing everything they can to come up with a more up-tempo kind of play in the mid-season conference as they aim for a far better showing.

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    “We’re the darkhorse in the second conference. Siyempre, kung lakas lang ang pagu-usapan, nandiyan ang Talk ‘N Text, nandiyan ang Rain or Shine, may Petron, San Mig Coffee saka Alaska. Mga kumpletong teams iyan eh.

    “Pero kami, kahit wala namang malaki, darkhorse kami ngayon. Pero malay mo, makabutas kami,” explained Chua, who owns a PBA career coaching record of 130 wins and 130 losses.

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    “Kahit pinapagalitan ko sila sa game, deep inside natutuwa ako sa nakikita ko kasi tumatakbo sila," says new coach Al Chua of the Ginebra Kings. Jerome Ascano
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