Who would have thought that Barangay Ginebra would make it this far?
The odds were undoubtedly against them. First of all, they acquired a new head coach. Then they had to change their import after just three games and Mac Baracael was traded to the team prior to the start of the conference. To top it all off, Mark Caguioa was injured in the middle of the eliminations. The team had a miserable start, losing four straight games. Luckily, they finished the elimination round at 7th place, thanks to a surprising six game winning streak.
They were able to pull of this streak by performing some basketball magic every time they’re in a hole. They were able to beat Rain or Shine twice in the Semis, and found themselves again needing two straight wins against a mighty Talk N’ Text team to get into the Finals. Their never-say-die spirit led them past all these obstacles. Just when we thought that the crowd darlings were destined to win it all, they fell to the rising Alaska Aces.
Ginebra did what they are known for, play with all heart. This is the reason why they won the hearts of millions of people. Every game they played with tenacity. Another factor here is the revival of the veterans. Kerby, Jayjay and Rudy were on the end of the bench when the eliminations started but when the big games started they found a time machine to go back to their old self. Kerby was working on the post, Jayjay was penetrating against a tight defense and Rudy is hustling for every rebound. Just like that Ginebra is back on the conversation.
Injuries are part of basketball. It usually breaks the momentum of one team. The rotation suddenly scarmbled. For Ginebra, injury happened to them on a wrong time. They’re starting to get their groove back when suddenly Mark Caguioa fell down on his own. They’re on a 3-game winning streak at that time. Luckily for them, their veterans stepped up. There’s always a big IF’s in basketball. What if Ginebra has a healthy Caguioa in the finals? This injury what the lowest point of their conference.
Ginebra needs a big man. Kerby is a power forward. Yousif Taha is still raw. Billy Mamaril is limited offensively. They need a center who will work on the post both offensively and defensively. They also need to play consistent basketball. They can’t just turn it on when they want to. They need to play 48 minutes of basketball.
Most Valuable Player: LA Tenorio
The Gineral anchored the Kings’ offense after Mark Caguioa went down. He orchestrated his team like never before. The lob passes to Macklin were as beautiful as you could ever imagine. His timely steals and his smarts were key to their perimeter defense. Nobody stepped up big time than Tenorio sans Caguioa.
I’m expecting another trade for Ginebra. If I were a part of Ginebra’s front office, I’d pursue that Japeth Aguilar trade. Trade him for maybe Elmer Espiritu and Billy Mamaril. Ginebra will have a young and athletic forward who will learn some post moves from Kerby. And I hope the rumors are true that Ginebra is planning to sign Asi Taulava and Eric Menk. This way, they’ll have a reliable center. Plus, this benefits Japeth again. Learning from Asi, Menk and Kerby will make Japeth’s progress faster.
Ginebra will only get better from this experience. They have savvy veterans and they still have the best player in the PBA. Aside from that, they also have great young players that will be (hopefully) working to hone their skills this coming off-season. They haven’t won a championship in five years so they are hungrier than ever. Who knows? Maybe the next championship will be theirs. When the time comes, Barangay Ginebra will be ready to shout their lungs out!
Gi-neb-ra!! Gi-neb-ra!! Gi-neb-ra!!
See more posts from this series
- Retribution On-Hold: The Rain or Shine 2013 Commissioner’s Cup Review
- Never Say Never: The Barangay Ginebra San Miguel 2013 Commissioner’s Cup Review
- Roller-coaster conference: The San Miguel Coffee Mixers 2013 Commissioner’s Cup Review
- The One That Got Away: The Petron Blaze Boosters 2013 Commissioner’s Cup Review
- Heart of a Champion: The Alaska Aces 2013 Commissioner’s Cup Conference Review
- Four Blind Mice: The Talk ‘n Text Tropang Texters 2013 Commissioner’s Cup Review