Retooled Ginebra faces big test against Alaska at the start of Lim dynasty
Coach Frankie Lim parades a retooled Kings squad that added Sol Mercado just days before their Governors Cup opener. Jerome Ascano

FRANKIE Lim is set for his baptism of fire as a retooled Barangay Ginebra begins its title drive against opening-day winner Alaska on Friday in the PBA Governors Cup at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

In a little over a month as head coach, Lim made three key trade moves which he explained were necessary to turn around the fortunes of a Ginebra squad that is on a seven-year title drought.

Lim’s roster shake-up saw young big man Dave Marcelo and combo guard Sol Mercado join a Ginebra side that has underachieved despite having one of the deepest lineups in the league.

See: Ginebra trades Joseph Yeo to Barako Bull for Sol Mercado in one-on-one swap

“The team is looking good and I think we’re on the right track kasi maganda naman ang response ng mga players sa mga pinapagawa ko,” Lim said.

Despite the changes, Lim, a multi-titled NCAA champion coach with San Beda, said the team’s two games over the next three days require an “exceptional effort” from everyone.

“Very big test sa amin lahat 'yun (Alaska and Talk ‘N Text) kasi dun makikita namin kung nasan na kami, saka ang Alaska,  it’s a strong team, very organized and a very strong team,” explained Lim, who is also hoping to draw big games from Orlando Johnson and Mongolian shooter Sanchir Tungalag.

Game time is 7 p.m.

For Alaska coach Alex Compton, Ginebra’s recent acquisitions add to the mystery of the new Kings under Lim, saying the Aces will be forced to "adjust on the fly."

“A lot of what we will have to do is adjust on the fly,” said Compton. “Hopefully, we can quickly execute any immediate adjustments we need to make during the game.”

The Aces opened the season-ending conference by crushing expansion squad Blackwater Elite, 106-80, behind mport Romeo Travis' 18 points and 11 rebounds and significant conributions from rookie guard Chris Banchero, JV Casio, Calvin Abueva and Cyrus Baguio.

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