Barangay Ginebra will get another chance at the coveted twice-to-beat advantage when it battles the surging Talk n’ Text Tropang Texters and gun for a spot in the top four. The Kings already had a chance to secure the twice-to-beat advantage but a surprise loss against a struggling Alaska doomed it. The Texters are wary of the Ginebra squad who hasn’t dropped back-to-back games this conference and somehow find a way to bounce back after each loss.

This also a chance for redemption for the Kings, who got soundly beaten by  top seeded Talk n’ Text at the quarterfinals of the Commissioner’s Cup that sent eighth seed Ginebra at that time into early vacation. Can the Kings avenge their ouster at the hands of the Texters? Will Talk n’ Text reign supreme again?

Keys of the Game


Perhaps the biggest problem in Ginebra’s three losses this conference is their inability to take care of the ball. They have averaged 22.6 turnovers in those 3 losses, while allowing their opponents an average of 23 turnover points. Most of those turnovers came before Ginebra can cross the half-court. Their opponents have done a great job of executing the full-court press against them (these happened mostly when Tenorio and Caguioa were on the floor, which is surprising because bot are veteran guards), initially denying an easy inbound pass and hounding their guards before they cross the midcourt. This forces the ball handlers to issue a risky pass to an open man past the half-court. These resulted most of the time into Ginebra losing the ball and allowing an easy fast break points for their opponents (evident in their match against Rain or Shine and San Mig). There was even a scenario where Slaughter was forced to handle ball in order for it to reach the midcourt (can’t remember which game it happened).

The key here is to protect the ball and do not allow the Texters to take advantage of their mistakes.



vs SMC

20 19

vs ROS

21 23

vs ALA

27 27


Gregzilla is looking for some serious backup now. (Photo Credit: Pranz Kaeno Billones, Sports5)

Gregzilla is looking for some serious backup now. (Photo Credit: Pranz Kaeno Billones, Sports5)

Another problem of Barangay Ginebra is the lack of local production. Sure there’s Z-Mason who’s been doing a lot at the offensive end, while Greg Slaughter is averaging 15.1 points per game to help Mason. But aside from Mason and Slaughter, there’s no other Ginebra player who is averaging double-digits in scoring. Z-Mason and Slaughter cannot carry the team alone, though they have been great as a duo for the Kings’, what happens when one of them gets contained? In their loss against SMC and Alaska, Greg only scored 11 and 7 respectively, while majority of the scoring load was taken by Mason.

After a good start this conference, Ginebra superstar Mark Caguioa has found himself in unfamiliar territory. Caguioa is averaging 8.7 points per game in 8 games. In contrast, LA Tenorio had a slow start but has since found his groove. But his 9.7 points per game is still isn’t enough to alleviate much of the scoring load from their frontline. Usual reliable players in scoring like Chris Ellis and especially Japeth Aguilar are still on a slump of their own.


Mark Caguioa


LA Tenorio


Japeth Aguilar


Chris Ellis


Simply put, the Kings’ locals need to step up and fill in their spots. In a system like the triangle offense where everyone is given equal opportunity to score, I find it hard to believe that only one local player is averaging in double figures. But I’m relieved at the same time in the thought that any player from the Ginebra roster can explode at any game. They should be able to find their identity if they ever want to have a deep playoff run, or perhaps a championship.

Key Match-Up


LA Tenorio is in for a rough night when he faces two of his Gilas teammates in Jayson Castro and Jimmy Alapag. The duo of Castro and Alapag has been great for Talk n’ Text this conference. Castro has been his usually self, while Alapag has hit crucial shots in their recent games that have given TNT the W. Tenorio has just found his star point guard self again, he has done a great job balancing his scoring output and facilitating Ginebra’s offense. It should be interesting who would be able to produce more and help his team get the win.