This feels weird.
Ginebra will be playing on a Saturday at the Cuneta Astrodome (hasn’t happened in a long time). Plus, there are trade rumors surrounding both Ginebra and Meralco right now. Weirdness aside, rest assured that this game is one that is very important for both teams. Ginebra will try to get back on track after their loss to Petron, while Meralco is desperate to get the taste of their last second loss to Barako Bull out of their mouths.
Both teams will miss the services of their key players. Kerby Raymunbdo and Dylan Ababou will still be on the sideline for Ginebra while for Meralco, Mac Cardona and new-recruit Jared Dillinger still will not play.
Without Meralco’s topgunners they will rely heavily on Mario West on offense and so far this conference, he has been good. In two games, West has averaged 28 points and 10 rebounds and will surely be the focal point of the team’s offense, with Ross, Hugnatan, Salvacion etc, picking up the pieces. For Ginebra, Lowhorn played well in their 1st game, but main local gunners Mark Caguioa and LA Tenorio need to shake off their poor performances against Petron.
Here are Ginebra’s keys to winning:
Put him on the line. This is how you stop a slasher like Mario West. He has averaged a dismal 54% clip from the charity stripe in the first two games. Ginebra should foul him hard everytime he drives to the lane and dare him to shoot from the outside until he proves that he can make it consistently.
Ginebra needs to shoot better from beyond the arc. Making the 3-ball leads to the lane opening for Caguioa and more space to operate for Tenorio. Get these two going, and the Ginebra offense will be almost unstoppable. It will be up to Baracael, Urbiztondo and the rest of the shooters to make them and best their 21% shooting from their last game.
3. Minutes for Japeth
Let the kid play, don’t let his confidence disappear once again. When he’s engaged, he will be effective. Let’s see him prove himself to the Ginebra faithfull.
Key Match-up: LA Tenorio vs. Chris Ross
This will be a good match-up as two pesky point guards will go at each other. Pay special attention to these two on defense as things will surely get scrappy early on.
I expect Ginebra to bounce back and win this game, they just have more firepower than Meralco right now.