THE experience gained by Barangay Ginebra from playing in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup Finals and the possible addition of a veteran big man in Asi Taulava will definitely go a long way in the Kings’ pursuit of a championship in the season-ending Governors Cup.
Rookie Chris Ellis acknowledged both factors are going to play major roles as the league’s crowd darlings hope to pick up from where they left off last conference when they finished runner-up behind Alaska.
Taulava remains tied up with Meralco which owns his playing rights, although the former PBA and now Asean Basketball League (ABL) MVP is constantly being mentioned in trade talks that Ellis hopes would lead him to Ginebra.
Ellis, who initially had been mentioned as being part of the Taulava trade only for San Miguel Corp. sports director Noli Eala to deny any deal involving the reigning PBA Slam Dunk king, said he definitely welcomes playing alongside the 40-year-old big man if and when a trade is sealed.
“If that (trade) happens, that’s gonna be an extremely big bonus for us,” said the 6-foot-5 Ellis of the possibility of acquiring Taulava.
“But even if not, we’ve got some good big guys in the team,” he added, noting the recent acquisition of Japeth Aguilar makes Ginebra’s frontcourt more formidable.
The Fil-Am forward out of Mary Liarden Baylor also stressed the team’s stint in the last best-of-five Finals is enough to make the Kings even better in the season-ending tournament that starts on August 14.
“Everybody got a taste of what it is to play in the Finals. We’ve battled through adversity. Everybody will be hungrier and hopefully, we could win the championship,” said the 24-year-old Ellis.
Assured of staying put at Ginebra, Ellis said he’s thrilled to meet up with his teammates once the Kings resume their practice on July 15 along with import Dior Lowhorn.
“Definitely, I’m excited to go back to practice,” said Ellis, who averaged 8.1 points, 4.7 rebounds, and 1.4 assists in 41 games with the Kings this season.
Lowhorn stands 6-foot-5 and played for the Saigon Heat in the recent ABL season won by San Miguel.
A knee injury prevented Lowhorn from finishing the season with the Heat, although before being sidelined, the former University of San Francisco alumnus averaged 26.67 points and 8.42 rebounds.