BOCAUE, Bulacan — Japeth Aguilar and Greg Slaughter imposed their size against a short-handed Talk ‘N Text side to lead Barangay Ginebra to a convincing 101-81 victory in the main game of the PBA season opener before more than 52,000 cheering fans at the Philippine Arena.
Aguilar scored 18 points, grabbed 18 rebounds and had five shot blocks while Slaughter imposed his will in the paint, scoring on putbacks and sweeping hooks against shorter defenders to spoil former Ginebra coach Jong Uichico’s coaching debut for Talk ‘N Text.
The Tropang Texters kept the game close for 30 minutes but finally reeled back while missing the services of veterans Ranidel de Ocampo and Jimmy Alapag, who are both on leave after their stints with Gilas Pilipinas in the Fiba World Cup and the Asian Games.
While his 'Twin Towers' stood out, Ginebra coach Jeff Cariaso credited everyone in the team for taking care of the “little things."
“Throughout my playing years, and the years I was able to be with (Purefoods) coach Tim (Cone), you work hard every day, you improve, you stay within the system, believe in it, and the win will follow,” said Cariaso after steering the team to the huge 20-point rout of the Texters.
“We’re lucky to get a good performance from everyone, guys were cheering each other, guys weren’t putting their heads down when they make a turnover, so those are the little things that means our chemistry is improving,” he added.
Cariaso refused to say the team deliberately “underperformed” during the preseason games, which saw the Kings win just once in seven games.
“I don’t want to say underperform, but obviously, if you go by the record, super sama, we only won one game in seven, not a good record. But it’s not about the record,” he said.
Slaughter, the 6-foot-11 sophomore center, added 16 points and 12 boards while Mac Baracael also chipped in 16, spiked by three three-pointers, for the Gin Kings.
Kelly Williams carried the scoring load for Talk ‘N Text with 20 points and 11 rebounds, while Jason Castro chipped in 19 for the Texters, who play sister team NLEX Road Warriors on Friday.
Ginebra’s excellent ball movement yielded a huge 25-10 advantage in the assists department.
GINEBRA 101 - Aguilar 18, Slaughter 16, Baracael 16, Caguioa 12, Helterbrand 10, Mamaril 8, Yeo 7, Ellis 6, Tenorio 4, Brondial 4, Monfort 0, Forrester 0, Urbiztondo 0, Reyes 0, Ababou 0.
TALK N' TEXT 81 - Williams 20, Castro 19, Alas 10, Fonacier 9, Ganuelas 9, Carey 4, Seigle 4, Reyes Ryan 3, Reyes Rob 3, Washington 0, Aban 0, Labagala 0, Espiritu 0.
Quarterscores: 19-18, 45-41, 70-62, 101-81