BARANGAY Ginebra backup playmaker Josh Urbiztondo remains out of commission three games into the PLDT myDSL-PBA Philippine Cup semifinal series as he’s still in the US attending to his ailing mother.
In the absence of Urbiztondo, Ginebra coach Ato Agustin had to work on a guard rotation of LA Tenorio and Eman Monfort, with Mark Caguioa and Jayjay Helterbrand playing the two-guard spots.
But the Kings were obviously outhustled by San Mig in Game Three of the best-of-seven series, getting just two points off fastbreaks compared to the 19 points scored off the transition by their opponents.
The Mixers went on to win the game, 97-89, to regain control of the best-of-seven series, 2-1.
Tenorio said the experience of the 6-foot Urbiztondo could have been a plus factor for the Kings, especially in trying to keep pace with a fastbreaking San Mig backcourt led by Mark Barroca and rookie guard Justin Melton, whose quickness helped the Mixers score on several fastbreak opportunities in the payoff period.
“Unang una, dagdag din sa rotation ng guards si Josh. With his experience, subok na rin siya sa playoffs. Malaking bagay din talaga, kaya nami-miss namin siya,” Tenorio said after the game, which saw him play 38 extended minutes.
Without Urbiztondo, Tenorio said the rest of his backcourt mates need to step up their game as they try to counter their San Mig counterparts in Game Four.
Coach Ato Agustin said there is no definite timetable for the return of the former Fresno Pacific stalwart, which is why he’ll have to stick with the point guard tandem of Tenorio and Monfort at the moment.
The pint-sized Monfort though sprained his right ankle late in the third period of Sunday’s game at the Mall of Asia Arena and may have to play through the injury for the rest of the series.
Urbiztondo is averaging just 3.1 points, 1.4 rebounds, and 0.8 assists in 12 minutes of play this conference, but remains a scoring threat due to his ability to shoot three-point shots in bunches.