After a disappointing loss last game against the San Mig Coffee Mixers, Ginebra looks to bounce back as they battle the ever dangerous Barako Bull Energy Cola. Barangay Ginebra led from 1st to 3rd quarter against the defending champions, before a 4th quarter meltdown under the Mixers’ pressure defense gave the Kings their first loss under Coach Jeffrey Cariaso.
Barako Bull has lost 4 of their last 5 games, but their 1-4 win-loss record belies the true strength of this team. They’ve fought against powerhouse teams like Rain or Shine and lost only by 3 points, while they were able to bring the game into overtime against the San Miguel Beermen. With such a short conference, this is virtually a must win game for the Barako. As such Ginebra must be wary as their opponents will go out and play with a sense of urgency.
Let’s see how Barangay Ginebra can win this game:
Keys of the Game
The Wise Decision
Barako Bull’s import, Eric Wise has been the anchor of this team’s offense. Averaging 31.2 points and 14.4 rebounds in Energy Cola’s 5 games this conference. His scoring and rebounding prowess are not the only problems for Ginebra, as Wise has shown the ability to make plays not only for himself but for his teammates. After their last game against Rain or Shine, Wise is now Barako’s leading assist maker with 4.2 per game as compared to Jeric Fortuna who’s assist average dropped to 3.8 per game. This happens because whenever Eric Wise is able to drive to the basket, the defense automatically collapses towards him, thus he able to kick to the ball out to an open teammate leading to an easy basket.
Now in order to win, Ginebra must clamp down on Eric Wise. They need to push him outside of the paint before he receives the ball. Or when he already has the ball, provide a quick help but don’t forgot to cover the 3 point line where Barako is equally dangerous. The Kings’ can put Z-Mason to guard Wise. Mason’s bigger frame can prevent Wise from bullying his defender in the post, though Wise’s quickness should be a problem for Ginebra’s import.
Guard the 3 Point Area
Perhaps the most dangerous aspect of Barako Bull’s offense (other than Eric Wise) is their ability to shoot from behind the arc. Barako is averaging 7.8 markers from the 3pt. area in this conference and a decent 34.5 3PT FG%. Without Eric Wise, they’re offense heavily relies on their 3pt. attempts. In all of their losses, their opponents were able to prevent Barako from connecting from the 3pt. range. Ginebra must guard the Energy Cola’s marksmen like Ronjay Buenafe and Mick Pennisi.
Zaccheus Mason vs Eric Wise
Z-Mason’s ability to defend Eric Wise and his own performance will be a big factor in this game. He needs to able to prevent Wise from scoring is easily. In his own performance, he must show that he can carry Ginebra on his back during crucial stretches of the game. Unlike in their battle against the San Mig Coffee Mixers where he was virtually a no-show during Barangay Ginebra’s 4th quarter meltdown.