BARANGAY Ginebra looks to follow up its huge season-opening victory when it clashes with dangerous Rain or Shine as action in the Philippine Cup continues on Sunday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
The Gin Kings, who showed tremendous speed and athleticism in their 110-90 demolition of newcomer Global Port Batang Pier last week, clash with the Elasto Painters in the 6:30 p.m. main attraction.
LA Tenorio, the Gin Kings’ biggest offseason addition, said playing for Barangay Ginebra’s much-improved roster, has made his transition easier this season.
“Mas madali ang basketball ngayon, lalo na may mga Fil-Ams kami at nandiyan sila Mark (Caguioa),” Tenorio said. “I want my teammates to be involved especially mas mapapadali ang scoring ni Mark.”
With so many weapons to choose from, Tenorio didn’t even have to join the scoring fray, as he happily orchestrated the team’s plays in 28 minutes, producing 10 assists, grabbing nine rebounds and adding two steals. He finished the game with just two points.
The Elasto Painters’ headache will not just be Tenorio because the Gin Kings also have their two high-leaping rookies Chris Ellis and Keith Jensen.
The 6-foot-4 Ellis debuted with 12 points, two assists and three shot blocks before fouling out early in the fourth quarter against Global Port.
On the other hand, Jensen scored 13 points on five-of-seven shooting, grabbed three rebounds, dished out two assists and had one shot block.
“I think everybody is capable of clicking anytime for the team,” Jensen said, referring to the team’s numerous scorers led by Caguioa, Kerby Raymundo, Jayjay Helterbrand, Mike Cortez and Tenorio.
Coach Yeng Guiao’s charges are no pushovers, though, especially since they are coming off a confidence-boosting 102-86 lynching of the talent-laden Petron Blaze Wednesday night.
Though smaller, Rain or Shine didn’t lack the fighting heart against Petron, relying mostly on physical plays, punishing 6’10” rookie big man June Mar Fajardo with the constant banging along with sharp perimeter shooting from the 6’6” Beau Belga and 6’5” JR Quinahan.
While the Elasto Painters won’t have Chris Tiu, who hurt his left hamstring against Petron, Guiao said their familiarity with each other and the big confidence they got from winning the Governors Cup last season, will be to their advantage against the Gin Kings.
In the first game, Air21 coach Franz Pumaren aims for a breakthrough win in the Philippine Cup when they take on Global Port in the 4:15 p.m. curtain raiser.
The Express dropped a narrow 87-90 decision against the Barako Bull Energy Cola on Wednesday. The defeat was the team’s 15th straight under Pumaren in the Philippine Cup.