BARANGAY Ginebra’s move to bring back the run-and-gun style and the decision to bring in Michael Dunigan will be put to a test right on opening night as the Kings battle the Meralco Bolts on Tuesday in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup at the MOA Arena.
Returning coach Ato Agustin hopes the free-flowing system would bring back the glory days at Ginebra, and part of the Gin Kings’ championship hopes hinge on Dunigan, who is back in the PBA for a second tour of duty after playing for the Air21 Express in the 2013 season.
The Gin Kings actually beat the Bolts to the draw after convincing the former University of Oregon star to sign with them last week.
With Dunigan, Ginebra has an agile import who can run the floor, defend the opposing team’s import and control the boards.
“Dinala niya ang Air21 sa playoffs (in 2013). And he’s smart, eh sa amin, kailangan lang naman mag-execute ng maayos at the same time, mag-improve ang defense namin,” Agustin said.
The Gin Kings clash with the Bolts at 7 p.m. before an expected overflow crowd at the arena in Pasay City.
Although he has a number of scorers, Agustin stressed the importance of executing well on offense, knowing that the Bolts put premium on team defense.
“Di naman kasi puwedeng one or two touches lang tapos tira na, dapat talaga maging maayos ang ball movement namin,” he added.
Outside Dunigan, who averaged 23.9 points, 15.4 rebounds, 3.3 assists, 2.4 blocks in 42.1 minutes during his stint with the Express in the 2013 Commissioner’s Cup, Agustin have the dependable frontline pair of Greg Slaughter and Japeth Aguilar, as well as veteran guards like Joseph Yeo, Mark Caguioa, LA Tenorio and Jayjay Helterbrand to lean on offensively.
Meantime, Meralco coach Norman Black said they may not have the big import they have been looking for this conference, but is confident that Josh Davis can get the job done because of his energy.
“Our import Josh Davis has practiced with the team four days and is starting to fit in with the locals,” said Black, who steered Meralco to the second phase of the quarterfinals before the Bolts bowed to Alaska Aces.
“We will be undersized again this conference because Davis is only 6'7, but his energy level will have us in there fighting.”