ALASKA coach Luigi Trillo expects a tougher, more determined Barangay Ginebra squad to show up when the Aces collide with the Gin Kings in the main game of the PBA Commissioner’s Cup on Sunday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Trillo is convinced Ginebra is now much tougher, especially with new import Josh Powell having trained for a week with the Kings since replacing Leon Rodgers last April 1.
“He’s (Powell) gonna be better at this (Sunday’s) game because he’s got a week off his belt,” Trillo said, heading to the Aces’ 5:15 p.m. match up.
The Aces (4-3) are facing the Gin Kings (3-4) for the first time since beating the league’s most popular ball club, via a 3-0 sweep in the Commissioner’s Cup Finals last season.
But the reigning PBA Coach of the Year said Ginebra has improved since that Commissioner’s Cup Finals loss.
“Remember, Ginebra made it to the Finals without Japeth (Aguilar) and Greg Slaughter. And now, you add the two plus Josh Powell, now they got bigger,” he added.
Powell debuted with 16 points and 15 rebounds, including a strong defensive job he had on Darnell Jackson to steer the Gin Kings to an 88-78 win on April 2.
Meantime, Ginebra coach Ato Agustin said the 6-foot-9 Powell’s entry buoyed the team as evidenced in the Gin Kings’ 23 assists against the Bolts and having six players score in double-figures.
“Si Leon Rodgers is a scorer so siguro ang mentality ng mga players, pag binigay sa kanya, he can score. But with Josh Powell, he’s all-around, saka napakabilis ng ball movement namin,” noted Agustin, whose team is eyeing a playoff spot with a win against the Aces.
“Sa seven games, ngayon lang kami nakakuha ng good screen. Kasi magaling mag-set ng good screen si Josh.”