MIDTABLE Barangay Ginebra tries to be the aggressor as it shoots for a third straight victory when the Kings take on Talk ’N Text Torpang Texters on Sunday in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup at the Mall of Asia Arena.
“Dapat kahit sino ang kalaban nila (Gin Kings), aggressive pa rin at kailangan talaga mag-stick kami sa mga defensive roles namin gaya nung sa pick and roll kaya focused kami ngayon sa Talk ’N Text,” Coach Ato Agustin said.
The match is set at 5:15 p.m.
The Kings opened the midseason import-flavored conference with back-to-back losses but appear to have adjusted with returning coach Ato Agustin.
They gave won two straight, downing sister team San Miguel Beer, 95-82, followed by a 100-92 triumph over a tough KIA Motors side to even their record at 2-2.
Agustin is pleased to see the King finally play run and gun as planned before the tournament, averaging 16 fastbreak points in the last two games after posting just 3.5 points average in their 0-2 start.
“Kung sa quickness nila (Tropang Texters), meron na rin kami ngayon kasi nakita naman sa fastbreak points namin, dahil naka-16 uli kami (against KIA), so pinu-push talaga namin ang bola every time,” he added.
The import matchup is also an interesting sub-plot with Ginebra’s Michael Dunigan facing Talk ’N Text’s Richard Howell.
The 6-foot-8 Dunigan, after a sluggish start, averaged 28 points, 12 rebounds and 2.0 blocks in Ginebra’s last two victories.
The former University of Oregon standout will try to use his size and strength to keep Howell off the boards.
Howell, a 6-6 forward, was the PBA Best Import of the Commissioner’s Cup last year, noted for his tireless effort off the boards as evidenced in his 15.0-rebounds-per-game average.
Talk ’N Text coach Jong Uichico speaks highly of Howell, but noted he expects a lot more on offense from his locals.
“He plays hard, very coachable, he gives us what we need, he gives us rebound and defensive presence against an import,” said Uichico, whose team dealt Barako Bull an 80-75 beating on Friday to climb to joint second spot with the Energy at 3-1.
Fil-Am forward Jay Washington has struggled offensively this conference after averaging just 3.5 points on 27.8 percent shooting from the field.
Jayson Castro (18.3 points) and Ranidel de Ocampo (10.6 points) are the only two local players averaging in double-figures.
“We only scored 80 points (against Barako Bull). We’ve got to find a way to get more points on the board,” he added.