WHETHER Barangay Ginebra has shaken off its championship hangover or not will be known as it takes on Alaska in the PBA Philippine Cup on Sunday night at the Ynares Center in Antipolo.
The Gin Kings are coming off a huge loss at the hands of Blackwater last week – their first in three games that underscored their hangover – from their Governors’ Cup repeat conquest
“Parang ganoon (hangover),” Gin Kings beanpole Japeth Aguilar said. “Medyo routinely yung ginagawa namin. Wala pa kaming sense of urgency.”
Even before their shock loss to the Elite, the Gin Kings also showed signs of going through the motions against GlobalPort, sleepwalking most of the game before turning it up down the stretch to steal the win.
And the Gin Kings look to have freshened themselves up ahead of their matchup against the Aces that tips off at 6:45 p.m.
“We have to be worried about ourselves, the team, kasi di pwede yung ganitong laro namin,” Ginebra star LA Tenorio said. “Isipin muna namin kung anu yung mga kailangan naming iimprove as a team, especially on the defensive end.”
The Gin Kings are facing a tough challenge from an Aces side that has begun a rebirth after winning its last two games to hike their record to .500.
Aces coach Alex Compton, though, knows the Gin Kings remain the favorites thanks to their twin towers in Aguilar and Greg Slaughter, and playmakers Scottie Thompson and Tenorio running the show with coach Tim Cone pulling the strings.
“Greg and Japeth, I think you might combine the height of those two guys, and they might total the height of our whole frontline. They're huge,” Compton said. “Obviously LA is a Hall of Famer, and I think coach Tim has won a championship or two, I can't remember. Right? 20?”
“I think we still – against teams like Ginebra, San Miguel, NLEX – we're gonna have to be a little more disciplined, and not just hard working,” he added. “We need to be hard working and disciplined. But I love the effort that I've seen from our guys.”
TNT KaTropa (2-2) seeks to get a win streak going as it faces sister squad Meralco (1-2) in the curtain-raiser at 4:30 p.m.