BARANGAY Ginebra’s backcourt readily stepped up the moment go-to-guy Mark Caguioa went down with an injury.
Coach Alfrancis Chua now hopes the rest of his big men will do the same after import stopper Billy Mamaril has been ruled out for the next four weeks due to a fractured right ring finger.
So far, the Kings are on a roll in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup, winning six games in a row despite being saddled by injuries to key players.
That has got something to do with Chua, a no-nonsense motivator whose decision to dig deep into his rotation, a term he fondly calls 'magic bunot,' has been doing wonders for the league’s crowd darlings.
Chua has so far seen unheralded players like Robert Labagala, Elmer Espiritu, Keith Jensen, and most recently, Mac Baracael, repay his trust by filling in the void left by the injured Caguioa.
“Talagang umaasa ako na magpa-patuloy `yung magic bunot natin. Nung nawala si Mark ang daming gumanda ang laro,” he said.
“Ngayon kay Billy. Hinihinitay ko kung sino naman ang lulutang,” said Chua even as he refused to name who he expects to step up next among his bigs.
“Nasa sa kanila `yun, alam nila kung ano ang challenge ko sa kanila, alam nila kung ano ang kailangan ko sa kanila. Depende na yan kung paano nila haharapin yung challenge ko sa kanila,” said the coach with the trademark pony tail.
The fiery mentor also stressed that it’s not in his nature to demand players to play well, since he’s more of a believer in allowing them to naturally grow.
“Alam naman ng mga players na once ginamit mo sila o nag-adjust ka para sa kanila, ramdam nila yun. I don’t like pressuring our players,” Chua explained.
The Ginebra mentor said the injury to Mamaril at a time when the Kings are on a surge is just anoter test for the franchise.
“Yung nangyayari sa amin ngayon, I know it’s a matter of test mula sa Itaas. Sinusubukan `yung character namin,” he said.
“I see it positively. Imagine, pag nalagpasan namin ito, tapos bumalik lahat `yung mga players, mas maganda `yung team namin,” Chua added
Caguioa is still doubtful to play against the Alaska Aces on Wednesday,while big men Rico Maierhofer (foot injury) and Kerby Raymundo (flu) have already recovered but are still trying to regain their game shape.
Other Ginebra big men who are expected to step up in Mamaril's absence are veterans Rudy Hatfield and Willy Wilson along with rookie Yousif Taha.