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    Leon Rodgers unruffled by replacement talk ahead of Ginebra match against GlobalPort

    Mar 20, 2014
    Leon Rodgers and the Ginebra Kings won their first outing but have dropped the last two. Jerome Ascano

    LEON Rodgers looks to finally come up with an efficient shooting night when Barangay Ginebra faces the winless GlobalPort Batang Pier in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup on Friday at the Cuneta Astrodome.

    The Gin Kings have dropped their last two assignments against sister teams San Miguel Beermen (96-112) and San Mig Super Coffee Mixers (80-90) after opening the conference with a 108-104 overtime win over Barako Bull.

    Ginebra will try to pounce on the struggling Globalport side, winless in four games, in the 8 p.m. match.

    The 6-5 Rodgers has been drawing flak for the team’s lackluster conference start. He is averaging 33 points and 11 rebounds and 3.0 assists in the first three games, but has a disappointing 37.3 percent from the field, includinjg 21.4 percent from beyond the arc.

    The shooting struggles notwithstanding, Rodgers remained calm even though there were reports early this week that he’ll be replaced.

    Assistant coach Juno Sauler, who has taken a more active role on the Ginebra bench this conference, said there’s no need to replace Rodgers for the time being.

    “If the need arises, then we will have to come up with names. But at this point, there’s no need to change Leon. The coaching staff has discussed that already,” said Sauler.

    JayR Reyes, Ginebra’s backup center, said Rodgers remains a picture of concentration despite reports that the former Northern Illinois standout is on the way out after the team’s 10-point loss to San Mig.

    “Matagal na rin siyang naglalaro ng basketball. Maganda ang attitude niya kahit sa practice, saka nakikinig siya kung may sinasabi kami sa kanya,” Reyes said, after the team’s short but intense practice on Thursday at the Cuneta Astrodome.

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    Reyes, the chief backup of Ginebra’s starting rookie center Greg Slaughter, said they have learned to cope with reports of an import replacement.

    “Sanay na rin kami kasi para sa amin, kung sino ng makakasama naming na import, basta mag-a-adjust na lang kami. Give and take lang naman iyan,” he added.

    In the meantime, Globalport coach Pido Jarencio said practice has been very good this week after the team fell short against Meralco, 99-104, on Saturday.

    Jarencio, who is in his first head coaching assignment in the PBA, said he wants to see his team play consistently on offense and defense in order to get a better chance of earning their first win this conference.

    “Day to day basis lang muna kami on how we perform. Para sa amin, naka-focus lang muna kami sa defense at offense namin saka 'yung makuha din ang unang panalo,” Jarencio said.

    The Batang Pier is activating small forward Ronnie Matias on Friday, one of two players they acquired recently after shipping out injured big man Enrico Villanueva to Air21.

    The other player, Carlo Sharma, was placed on the reserve list, according to Jarencio.

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    Leon Rodgers and the Ginebra Kings won their first outing but have dropped the last two. Jerome Ascano
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