This 2013 Governor’s Cup has to be one of the most anticipated Ginebra conferences in recent memory.
After a runner-up finish last conference, this new-look Barangay Ginebra team is hungrier than ever to prove that the last conference was no fluke. Some marquee players may still be injured, but the return of Gilas point guard LA Tenorio without injury and a finally healthy Mark Caguioa instantly gives this teams one of the best backcourts in the PBA. Luckily for Tenorio, the team will not play until Sunday, August 18, giving him a few extra days of much needed and earned rest.
As is often the case for Ginebra, things will be a little bit different this conference. Ato Agustin will be their head coach (at leastfor this conference), their best hustle player and one of their emotional leaders Rudy Hatfield has decided call it quits and they also decided to trade Elmer Espiritu and Yousif Taha to Globalport for Japeth Aguilar.
Yup, that Japeth Aguilar that you saw with Smart Gilas Pilipinas. Yup, Japeth Aguilar, the 6’9 forward who can jump out of the building, block your shot to the rafters and dunk on your soul.
His performance with Gilas Pilipinas in the recently concluded FIBA Asia Tournament should give the fans a glimpse what he can bring to the table for the Gin Kings. Expect him to spend as much time as possible on the floor for the team especially with Hatfiel retiring and Kerby Raymundo still recovering from an injury.
Another player fans are excited to see play for this team is import Dior Lowhorn. The 6’5 import last played in the ASEAN Basketball League for the Saigon Heat. He averaged 26.7 points 8.4 rebounds while shooting a decent 45.7% from the field. He’s a hard worker that can play the inside and outside game. However, Lowhorn is limited by his free throw shooting as he only shot 63.4% from the line in the ASEAN League. For a scorer like Lowhorn, he needs to improve his free throw shooting if he doesn’t want to become a liability late in games.
As always, “run and gun” will be Ginebra’s main strength as a team.
Close your eyes and imagine this. LA Tenorio gets a steal that leads to a 3-on-1 fastbreak. In his left, he has Chris Ellis streaking down the court, while Japeth is flying on the right side. If you’re Tenorio, who will you give it to? Or do you just throw it up there and see who gets it first? Ginebra should try to take advantage of their athleticism as much as possible both on the defensive end and on the glass as well. Getting out in transition is the number one priority for this team, but it will only happen if they play great defense and clean up the boards.
In terms of weaknesses, three point shooting will still be Ginebra’s weak spot. The lack of shooters in the team is truly evident as the days when there were Salvacions, Macapagals and Canaletas on the perimeter ready to shoot are now gone.
Of course, depth will also be an issue for Ginebra as Kerby Raymundo and Dylan Ababou are still currently dealing with injuries.
Projected Depth Chart
PG – LA Tenorio
SG – Mark Caguioa
SF – Chris Ellis
PF – Dior Lowhorn
C – Japeth Aguilar
Bench – Jayjay Helterbrand, Mac Baracael, Josh Urbiztondo, Billy Mamaril
6-3. That will be my projected record for Ginebra this conference. The arrival of Japeth (the mature version we saw with Gilas) should be like a shot to the arm for this team. This excitement and confidence should translate into some early wins, but their lack of a reliable bench should give them a few problems down the strentch. As for the coaching situation, I actually don’t foresee it being such a big concern since Coach Ato will still run the same system that Coach Alfrancis used in the last conference.
Across the archipelago, Ginebra fans simply cannot wait for the Governor’s Cup to get started.
Let the games begin.