FOR a change, Barangay Ginebra turned to its role players to finish a 120-98 win over Barako Bull that kept them alive in the playoff race of the PBA Governors’ Cup on Wednesday night.
With some of their starters firing blanks, the Kings leaned on an unlikely quintet led by bench players Eman Monfort, Rodney Brondial, and Jiwan Kim, to team up with starters Sol Mercado and import Orlando Johnson.
“I had problems with my starters especially nung first quarter. They couldn’t execute plays for us, so I opted for Eman,” said Ginebra coach Frankie Lim.
Lim didn’t name names, but it seemed LA Tenorio was among them as the starting point guard went scoreless in the opening period and finished with just three points, two assists, and one rebound in 17 minutes.
“Me and LA started pretty slow, so coach took a chance on Eman and he responded well,” said Mercado, who finished strong by scoring 10 of his 14 markers in the payoff period when the Kings pulled away for good.
“Coach just wants us, whoever’s playing, with the most effort and giving us with the most energy, those guys will play. He doesn’t play favorites,” Mercado added.
“And pag binigay mo yung one-hundred percent mo, then good things will come,” said Monfort, who tallied a conference-high 12 points in 30 minutes.
The pint-sized playmaker, who grabbed eight rebounds and dished out four assists, on top of two steals, stressed it was the collective effort of the Kings’ small lineup that made the difference.
Aside from Monfort and Kim who had 12 points off the bench, Dave Marcelo (five points) and rookie Rodney Brondial (10) also played quality minutes as Ginebra's relievers ended up outscoring their Barako counterparts, 41-13.
“Sol is very fast and si Kim, shooter talaga siya. We used that to our advantage tapos si OJ sa four position, he’ very versatile,” stressed Monfort.