BARANGAY Ginebra tries to cope without its biggest threat as it opens its PBA Governors’ Cup campaign against GlobalPort on Saturday at the Mall of Asia Arena.
With Greg Slaughter expected to be out for most part of the season-ending conference as he recovers from ankle surgery, the Gin Kings, playing slow, deliberate Triangle Offense under coach Tim Cone, are forced to shift to higher gear and bank more on their backcourt led by LA Tenorio, Mark Caguioa, and rising rookie star Scottie Thompson.
“Medyo fast-paced yung laro namin ngayon kasi wala kaming malaki kaya nag-adjsut si coach Tim,” Tenorio said. “I think it’s a good adjustment kasi guard-oriented talaga kami eh.”
The Gin Kings’ guard rotation immediately gets a tough test in a Batang Pier side that features the most explosive backcourt duo in Terrence Romeo and Stanley Pringle.
The squads square off at 5:15 p.m. in the main game of the Petron Saturday Special preceded by a matchup between Blackwater and NLEX at 3 o’clock.
The Gin Kings also lean on a wing-oriented import in former Tropang TNT reinforcement Paul Harris, while the Batang Pier turn to their own returning import in Dominique Sutton.
While he welcomes the high-octane offense, Harris stressed the Gin Kings should keep their focus on the defense end of the floor.
“We still want to keep our identity … especially with coach Tim being a defensive coach and our style is defense first,” Harris said. “On the other hand, we want to try and pick up the tempo more.”
The Kings will still be with one of its twin towers as Japeth Aguilar rejoins the squad after playing for Gilas Pilipinas in the offseason, turning foes anew against national teammate Romeo.