by Waylon Galvez
Barangay Ginebra hopes to rise from a heart-breaking opening game defeat by doing a better job at defense.
That is what veteran guard LA Tenorio said they have to do as they go up against the Meralco Bolts today in the PBA Governors’ Cup at the Cuneta Astrodome in Pasay City.
Both teams are coming off setbacks, and that makes their 5 p.m. encounter interesting since the season-ending tournament is a short one.
“Medyo hindi maganda yung naging execution namin sa huli last game,” said Tenorio, referring to Ginebra’s 101-95 loss to Petron Blast last Sunday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum. “May mga lapses, lalo sa defensive set up namin.”
Both teams had good shooting percentage with Ginebra finishing with a 36-of-76 shooting (47.4%) while Petron had 37-of-79 (46.8%), although the Kings were far better from the foul line, converting 19 of 23 tries (82.6% )against the 20-of-29 (60%) for the Boosters.
What pulled Ginebra down was its 23 turnovers which Petron translated to 22 points. Five of these mistakes were committed by import Dior Lowhorn, who finished with 29 points and 11 rebounds.
“Very obvious ‘yung hindi namin pagkaka-kilala,” said Tenorio, who finished with only nine points but had 10 assists and four rebounds.
The 5-foot-9 Tenorio pointed to his and newcomer Japeth Aguilar’s lack of preparation with their teammates as they joined Ginebra’s training only after their campaign with the Gilas Pilipinas in the last FIBA Asia Championship.
With a full line up at practice, Tenorio said they now have a better handling of each other’s roles and ready to avoid the mistakes that cost them the game against Petron.
Tenorio also mentioned that having a new coach in Ato Agustin is not the reason why they struggled. Ato’s system, he said, is not very different from that of their previous coach Alfrancis Chua, who is now team manager.
“May mga dinagdag lang si coach Ato na two to three plays, pero basically same system kami nung kay coach Al. Since it’s a short conference, naiintindihan naman ng coaching staff na kung ma-iiba ng system baka mahirapan ang players,” said Tenorio.
“So hopefully, maka-adjust kami sa game against Meralco. I think we can match up with them, but we have to be solid in playing defense and the energy level should be for 48 minutes, hindi up and down,” added Tenorio as the team will also rely on Mark Caguioa, Chris Ellis, and Mac Baracael.
Ginebra’s defense, of course, will focus on Meralco import Mario West, who has averaged 28 points in two games. He scored 23 points in an 89-83 win against Petron last Aug. 16, had 33 points is a losing cause to Barako Bull Energy Cola, 90-89, last Sunday.
Meralco coach Ryan Gregorio said they need to improve their rebounding to have a good chance against the Kings. In their game against Barako, the Bolts were outrebounded, 61-43.
“We have to do a better job re-bounding. We were out-rebounded by Barako Bull by close to 20 en route to our 1-point loss,” said Gregorio.
“Both of us are coming off a loss. Both of us are eager to bounce back, that’s what makes this game interesting and challenging. Playing Ginebra is always a huge challenge. They’re solid in all positions and their import is solidly built.”