BARANGAY Ginebra tries to maintain its firm grip on second spot when it clashes with a struggling Air21 side in a vital match on Wednesday in the PLDT myDSL-PBA Philippine Cup at the Mall of Asia Arena.
The Gin Kings (5-1) are living up to the preseason hype behind their 'Twin Towers' of Japeth Aguilar and rookie center Greg Slaughter, who are expected to be a giant headache for the Express in the 8 p.m. match.
The 6-foot-9 Aguilar is averaging a team-best 19.1 points to go along with 9.0 rebounds and 3.5 blocks - all career-high numbers for the 26-year-old Ginebra forward.
On the other hand, Slaughter is averaging a double-double of 13.8 points and 11.1 rebounds, while adding 1.8 blocks per contest.
Ginebra veteran guard LA Tenorio said with Air21’s 40-year-old center Asi Taulava still a solid contributor on the defensive end, Slaughter will have to stay aggressive in the paint.
“Greg will have to stay aggressive and get those rebounds. Kasi para sa amin, it doesn’t matter sino makakalaban namin. All we need is to win. basta ang final score dapat eh panalo kami,” said Tenorio.
Air21 coach Franz Pumaren is well aware of the damage Ginebra’s tall frontline can bring in the two team’s very first match-up for the season.
“I think we really have to make sure to take away the sweet spot of their (Gin Kings) big guys,” noted Pumaren, whose team is at the cellar with its woeful 1-6 record.
“Asi will have to work double time, and also our other big guys. I don’t think Asi can really stop their other big guys (on his own).”
Taulava is coming off a 16-point, 18-rebound effort in Air21’s 88-90 loss to unbeaten Petron last week.
The 6’10” former PBA MVP though will have to get the frontline support from backup center Carlo Sharma, Nino Canaleta and role players Vic Manuel and Chito Jaime to keep Aguilar and Slaughter from doing much damage in the paint.