ONE great game from Barangay Ginebra’s veteran guards won’t let San Mig Coffee forget who really the main men are on the opposite end of the court when both teams battle in the deciding Game Seven of the PLDT myDSL-PBA Philippine Cup semifinals series on Wednesday.
While admitting they have to do a better job in covering resurgent veteran Mark Caguioa, Mixers coach Tim Cone is not veering away from his principle of putting the clamps on Ginebra’s celebrated Twin Towers of Greg Slaughter and Japeth Aguilar.
“(Caguioa) came out and played a great game. We’re gonna have to account for him better tomorrow,” the multi-titled American mentor said of the Kings superstar, who came off the bench to score 21 points – including the go-ahead free throws in the final 16.2 seconds - in 34 minutes of play in Game Six.
Prior to that, the former league MVP was held to just six points on 3-of-11 shooting in 26 minutes of action as a starter in Game Five.
Backcourt partner LA Tenorio also bounced back after his uncharacteristic meltdown in Game Five as the premier playmaker registered 16 points, three assists, and three boards in 39 minutes of play.
“But we also can’t lose our philosophy of taking care of their bigs,” Cone added. “We gotta make sure we don’t let the bigs go crazy on us.”
Slaughter, the top overall pick in last year’s draft, had a stellar outing in Game Six, tallying a double-double of 21 points and 11 boards that went with two assists and two steals in 34 minutes. He also scored four of the Kings’ last six points, including the two-clinching free throws with two seconds left in the game.
The athletic Aguilar, on the other hand, recorded 13 points and two blocks, but hauled down just three rebounds.
Whoever performs from Ginebra, Cone just hopes his boys are focused.
“There’s too many variables and one game is always different than the next game. But we just try to get our guys focused forward.”