EXTENDED hours in practice awaited Barangay Ginebra shortly upon its return from Tubod, Lanao del Norte where it absorbed a fourth straight setback in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup.
Alfrancis Chua held his longest pep talk with the Kings since assuming the team’s coaching job prior to the start of the mid-season conference, gathering the players for about two hours in a closed-door meeting at the Xavier gym on Monday morning.
Regularly, the Kings only allot 30 minutes for video viewing, immediately followed by their usual court drills.
But on this day, the team stayed inside the office until before lunch time, so much so that Ginebra’s daily practice that normally ends around 12 noon had to be extended by about one-and-a-half hours.
Assistant coach Juno Sauler said Chua showed spliced videos of Ginebra’s 69-84 loss to Alaska over the weekend that left the Kings as the only winless team in the mid-season tournament.
“Sa offense, gusto lang namin to try to get good shots, execution of plays, less turnovers … ang problema namin, `yung offense ang baba ng percentage namin last game,” explained Sauler, noting the Kings made just 32.2 percent of their shots against Alaska.
The youthful deputy of Chua in-charge of taping and editing videos of Ginebra games, believes that to improve the team’s shooting, proper execution of play is needed.
“Wala tayong magagawa dun sa malas talagang tira, pero basta ma-improve namin `yung shot selections,” stressed Sauler. “Di baleng mag-mintis, basta maganda `yung execution. In the long run, gaganda, mas mag-go-grow `yung team. Kesa magkalat-kalat sa opensa.”
Other than its woeful shooting against the Aces, Sauler said Ginebra is still having problems with chemistry, especially after bringing in a new import in Vernon Macklin.
But the former guard out of De La Salle said after more than a week, Macklin is slowly integrating himself into the Ginebra system.
“Nakikita na namin yung strengths niya. Sana mag-jell `yung strengths niya sa locals. Offensive option, pwede kasi maganda `yung post niya. Options sa scorers na locals si Mark (Caguioa), LA (Tenorio), and Jayjay (Helterbrand),” he added.
Sauler admitted Macklin will play a major role in the Kings’ offense to better maximize the post-up prowess of the former Florida Gators power forward.
“Starting all over kami and sana mas marami kaming maibigay na touches kay Vernon next time. In fairness, maganda rin kasi yung naging denial defense ng Alaska sa kanya.”
Despite mired at the bottom of the standings, Sauler is optimistic the elusive first `W’ will come the soonest.
“Sana mabago na `yung kapalaran, mahirap lang kasi two days lang ang preparations. Kaunting adjustments na lang, patience sa offense, shot selections, para umakyat `yung field goal percentage.”
Ginebra’s next game will be against the streaking Barako Bull Energy Cola on Wednesday.