ATO Agustin tries again to register his first win as Barangay Ginebra coach when the Kings collide with the dangerous Meralco Bolts in a lone PBA Governors Cup game on Saturday at the Astrodome in Pasay City.
The match is set at 5 p.m. with the Kings out to redeem themselves from a sorry 95-101 debut loss to sister-team Petron last week.
Aware Ginebra has the size advantage over his team, Meralco coach Ryan Gregorio feels the only way to beat the Kings is by maximizing the Bolts’ quickness.
“Playing Ginebra is always a huge challenge,” said Gregorio, whose team currently totes an even 1-1 record after the Bolts dropped a tough 89-90 decision to Barako Bull on Sunday.
“They (Gin Kings) are solid in all positions and their import is solidly built. So we have to use our quickness to counter their height advantage.”
Gregorio also pointed out Meralco failed to do a better job in the rebounding department against the Energy Cola as the Bolts were crushed off the boards, 61-43, leading to their heartbreaking one-point loss.
The Meralco mentor said he is confident import Mario West, seeing action in his second tour of duty with Meralco, will play much better against the Kings given the six-day rest he had since Sunday’s game.
“We savored the six-day break especially Mario. When we played Barako last Sunday, it was only his (West) third day here, the height of jet lag. Having better sleep and rest, I am certain that he will perform better with his legs back,” explained Gregorio.
Josh Urbiztondo, Ginebra’s veteran backcourt player, said with their size, the Kings need to put the ball inside where wide-bodied import Dior Lowhorn is expected to dominate.
“They don’t have the size and our import is a strong post player, so we have to utilize that,” said Urbiztondo, acquired during the playoff stage of the Commissioner’s Cup last summer.
Lowhorn, who banged in 29 points and 11 rebounds in his first game in the league, is expected to team up with newly-acquired big man Japeth Aguilar inside.
The 6-foot-9 Aguilar had eight points and five rebounds in just 18 minutes of action as he suited up for Ginebra for the first time since being traded by Globalport during the season break.
But the former Western Kentucky stalwart is expected to play a more prominent role once he gets used to the Ginebra system under Agustin.