BARANGAY Ginebra seeks a fitting follow-up to its breakthrough win in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup when it tangles with Manny Pacquiao and KIA Motors in Friday night’s main game at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Finally getting its run-and-gun system going under coach Ato Agustin, the gin Kings whipped the San Miguel Beermen on Sunday to make it to the win column of the mid-season tournament.
Upbeat and their morale on a high, the Kings hope their newfound confidence could translate to yet another win opposite the Carnival in their 7 p.m. match.
“Sa mga practices namin, sabi ko naman, if we play good defense, offense will follow, and so far, I think nagawa namin yun (good defense versus San Miguel),” said Ginebra coach Ato Agustin.
“So konting polish na lang since alam naman nila dahil last year, ito na ang sistema,” added Agustin, who is in his second tour of duty with the franchise after taking over from Jeffrey Cariaso.
Three Ginebra players, however, will be going to the game fresh from sickbay.
Starting point guard LA Tenorio is coming off a bout with stomach flu, but vowed to play against KIA as he is set to be discharged from the hospital on Friday morning.
Newly-acquired Dorian Pena and Jayjay Helterbrand also missed the team’s practice the past two days due to flu-like symptoms and would be game-time decisions.
Ginebra import Michael Dunigan and big man Greg Slaughter are expected to lead the way for Ginebra though.
After being downed by food poisoning, the 6-foot-8 Dunigan has been recharged, scoring a personal conference-high 29 points, on top of 13 rebounds, two assists, and a block in Ginebra’s win over San Miguel.
Slaughter meanwhile, is expected to take on KIA import Peter John Ramos in an intense, physical battle in the paint.
Ramos has been a monster in his first four games for the Carnival, averaging 36.3 points and 20.3 rebounds.
Meantime, KIA assistant coach Chito Victolero said the Carnival intend to come out strong against Ginebra from the get-go, something they were able to do well in their epic 88-78 win over the Beermen last week.
“Instruction lang naman ni coach Manny is we need to start strong kasi sa Barako medyo malamya kami,” said Victolero, referring to the team’s anemic performance in the Carnival’s 95-86 loss to the Energy.
“So from first to fourth quarters, kailangan ma-sustain namin yung energy namin.”