STAR player Mark Caguioa doesn’t mind the limited playing time while he watched the rest of the Barangay Ginebra turn the tables on San Mig Coffee in an 86-69 win in Sunday’s opener of the PLDT MyDSL-PBA Philippine Cup at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.
A healthy Caguioa played just 23 minutes in the Kings’ first game this season, enjoying his time on the bench as the team’s second unit of Dylan Ababou, Eman Monfort, and Jay-R Reyes sparked Ginebra’s second-half charge on the way to the come-from-behind win.
“Parang it’s a blessing na rin kasi usually, I play bad against San Mig,” said a beaming Caguioa after the game that saw him finish with just two points, four rebounds, and three assists.
The high-scoring Ginebra guard said with a much-improved roster this season, he’s confident the Kings can better match up with any team in the league as proof of the way they dismantled the Mixers, the newly-crowned Governors Cup champion.
Caguioa, who turns 34 on Tuesday, pointed out that with two big men patrolling the shaded lane for the Kings this season in Japeth Aguilar and Greg Slaughter, he expects other teams to have a hard time scoring inside against Ginebra’s interior defense.
“Those guys (Greg Slaughter and Japeth Aguilar) are big guys. They came out, they did what they were supposed to do, like block shots, intimidate other players para mahirapan din `yung ibang guards maka-shoot,” noted the former Glendale Community College star.
With five Kings scoring in double figures, led by the 18 points of Aguilar, Caguioa had all the time to rest his right knee after suffering an MCL (medial collateral ligament) sprain during the team’s Governors Cup quarterfinal loss.
But he said his right knee isn’t bothering him anymore, except that he needs to regain his game shape.
“No problem naman, it’s (right knee) not bothering me anymore. I just need to get in shape. So ang habol ko lang ngayon, play more games and get in the rhythm,” added the former league MVP.
Ginebra will have a week off before returning to action next Sunday against Rain or Shine at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.