TWO old reliables relish their individual matchup as Meralco and Star start their PBA Governors’ Cup semifinal series on Sunday night at the Alonte Arena in Biñan, Laguna.
Ranidel de Ocampo and Marc Pingris, who served together for quite some time with the national team, are expected to flash their vintage form at this stage of the playoffs for their respective mother clubs as Game One of the best-of-five series tips off at 6:30 p.m.
“Actually si Ping, excited ulit ako na makalaro siya ngayon sa playoffs,” De Ocampo said after the Bolts’ 104-96 Final Four-clinching win over Blackwater in the first round last Thursday. “Talagang pag naghaharap kaming dalawa, kumbaga kung titignan mo parang sobrang classic, 'di ba. From RP Youth hanggang ano magkasabay kami niyan.”
“Na-appreciate ko nung na-injury yung likod ko, dumalaw siya sa ospital,” he added, referring to a freak gym accident that left with him with a herniated disc two years ago when he was still with TNT. “Buti na lang gumaling na rin siya ngayon sa injury niya, maganda na rin nilalaro niya. Excited ako makaharap lagi siya.”
Being opponents is as exciting as being teammates on the 2013 Gilas Pilipinas team that bagged the silver in the Fiba Asia Championship and brought country back to the world basketball stage.
“Sa court pag naglaban kami, talagang laban kami,” De Ocampo said. “Pero pag nasa labas, kung magturingan kami parang magkapatid.”
“Good luck na lang,” he added. “Sigurado magandang series.”
De Ocampo, though, knows it’s hardly only Pingris that Bolts have to worry about as the Hotshots rely on a backcourt-oriented attack led by Paul Lee, Mark Barroca and Jio Jalalon, while import Kristofer Acox holds the fort down low.
“Kailangan lang namin paghandaan ang Star kasi alam namin ang Star di naman lagi nawawala sa playoffs,” De Ocampo said. “Experienced team yan. Maganda rin ginagawa ni Coach Chito, at the same time, okay naman jelling ng team nila.”
“So kailangan paghandaan namin sila lalo na yung import nilang hard-worker,” he added