BARANGAY Ginebra may have crushed Talk ’N Text by 20 points in the opening match in the PBA Philippine Cup at the Philippine Arena, but coach Jeff Cariaso expects to see a very different team in their one-game playoff on Tuesday.
Since opening the season with an 81-101 loss to the Gin Kings, the Tropang Texters have won eight of the next 10 games to earn a twice-to-beat edge in the playoffs.
Talk ’N Text then opened the first phase of the quarterfinals by tearing Barako Bull apart, 105-76, underscoring the team’s readiness to regain its position as one of the top teams in the pro league.
Ginebra, on the other hand, endured a tough windup to the eliminations that included three straight losses before getting back on track just in time for the playoffs.
Kings coach Jeffrey Cariaso has spent the last few days trying to perfect the team’s defensive schemes for their knockout quarterfinal against Talk 'N Text on Tuesday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
The rematch is set at 7 p.m.
“The department that remains crucial (for us) to be given a chance to win against TNT is our defense,” said Cariaso, whose team reached the second phase of the quarterfinals after its 95-78 ripping of GlobalPort last week in Antipolo City.
“One-on-one defense, that’s how we defend their ball screens and dribble drive.”
Despite Ginebra’s overwhelming advantage in size due to the presence of Greg Slaughter and Japeth Aguilar, along with backups Billy Mamaril and Jay-R Reyes, the Gin Kings can stop teams when they want to.
Statistically, Ginebra gives up just 76.6 points in the games that it won but an eye-popping 96.6 points in its losses.
Cariaso recognizes the team’s inconsistencies and stresses the need for the team to be “awesome” against Talk 'N Text.
“Transition defense, rebounding, all elements of our defense, we have to be awesome at tomorrow,” he said.
Although Talk ’N Text doesn’t have a dominant inside presence, the Texters of Jong Uichico are capable of extending the Gin Kings due to their armada of outside gunners led by Jay Washington, Ranidel de Ocampo, Jayson Castro, Ryan Reyes, Larry Fonacier and Jimmy Alapag.