Ping Exciminiano banking on familiarity with college teammate Terrence Romeo's game
Alaska guard Ping Exciminiano is expected to get the defensive assignment on GlobalPort star guard Terrence Romeo beginning in Game One on Monday night. PBA Images

PING Exciminiano believes he still has enough familiarity with Terrence Romeo that can help Alaska in minimizing the GlobalPort star’s production in their PBA Philippine Cup semifinal duel starting on Monday night at the Mall of Asia Arena.

While acknowledging the Batang Pier star guard has progressed by leaps and bounds after his collegiate career at Far Eastern University, Exciminiano still likes to believe he still knows some of the tendencies of his college teammate, who he played with for three years.

“Marami na siyang in-improve na moves (mula nung college),” Excimiano admitted in a chat with after practice on the eve of Game One that tips off at 7 p.m. “Mas naging grabe siya. And the more na nacha-challenge siya, mas lumalabas yung laro.”

“(Pero) medyo makakatulong din yung familiarity ko sa kanya,” he was quick to add. “It’s about effort naman eh. Lahat ng magagawa ko, gagawin ko para masundan ko lang siya.”

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But Exciminiano, one of the league’s peskiest defenders, stressed that he can’t contain Romeo, not to mention his backcourt partner Stanley Pringle, on his own.

“Mahirap talaga, lalo na ngayon consistent yung laro nila,” Exciminiano said. “Yung confidence nila, nasa highest level na, so ang preparation namin is hindi individual kundi buong team kami magtu-tulong para ma-stop silang dalawa.”

The Aces proved that the chances of beating GlobalPort are higher if you can cut one of the Batang Pier’s two-headed monster, having beaten the squad, 123-104, last November in a game where Romeo scattered 33 points, but Pringle was held to just 16 points on 10 attempts after the back-to-back Player of the Week awardee averaged 22.3 points in his first four games.

“Siguro sa mga guwardiya lang, mas double effort, so nasa amin yung pressure,” Exciminiano continued. “At the same time, nasa bigs rin namin kasi dahil gumagamit sila (GlobalPort) ng mga ball screens so kailangan tulong-tulong.”

Aces star point guard JVee Casio emphasized team defense in beating the Batang Pier.

“Our rotations, our help defense should be on point,” the soft-spoken guard said. “Yung game plan kailangan masunod namin.”

Follow the writer on Twitter: @KarloSacamos