The PBA started last Wednesday and we’ve already seen a couple of close games and imports scoring in the 30’s and 40’s.
What we have been missing though, is a jumpacked arena full of fans supporting their respective teams. It’s also no coincidence that the Barangay Ginebra San Miguel haven’t played a game.
To cap off the opening week, Ginebra will take on a Petron team that’s coming off a disappointing loss against Meralco.
For this game, let’s assume that LA Tenorio and Japeth Aguilar will suit up for Ginebra, as reports are indicating that both players will be available for action.
Ginebra will parade Dior Lowhorn as its reinforcement this conference. The 6’5 import last played in the ABL with the Saigon Heat where he averaged 26.7 points and 8.4 rebounds. He’s a great scorer that can operate inside and out, but the only soft spot in his game is his free throw shooting. The Gin Kings were able to survive Macklin’s struggles from the line last conference, but here comes another import who has a problem with his free throw shooting.
Here is Ginebra’s key to winning this game:
1. Make way for Japeth
Playing his first game in a Ginebra uniform is Gilas Pilipinas’ high-flying big man Japeth Aguilar. Fans are excited to see his airial antics in a Ginebra uniform. Japeth needs to have a memorable first game as a Gin King and to do that, he will need to focus on his defense and rebounds. He’s expected to play big minutes because of Ginebra’s shortage in the front line, but it remains to be seen if his play with Gilas will translate to the PBA.
2. We vs. Me
Lowhorn must adapt the team concept of the Gin Kings. One-on-One isolation play may work, but he must also be a willing passer and team player if he wants to win his team’s opening game.
3. MARKed Man
Petron has a trio of wing guys who can play defense and score the ball. This will be a tough job for reigning MVP Mark Caguioa. He’s returning from an injury that kept him out for most of the last conference, so look for him to be aggressive right from the get-go.
Japeth Aguilar vs. Jun Mar Fajardo: The two backup centers for Gilas will go at each other in this game. Fajardo had a double-double in Petron’s first game so it looks like the FIBA stint really helped him. Will they guard each other? It’ll be an exciting match-up.
It’s too close to call but I think Ginebra will come out with a win here. Japeth’s energy will give this team a boost and it will definitely rub off to their fans. And just for fun, I expect three dunks from him in this game.