Everybody seems to be pointing to someone or something after Ginebra’s 101-95 defeat against Petron yesterday. Interim head coach Ato Agustin was placed in hot seat after only their first game as Ginebra fans went on a rampage in social media, with the hot topic being his decision to bench Japeth Aguilar in the crucial stages of the game in favor of veteran Willy Wilson. Wilson, many thought, did not deserve to be out there in cruch time since he was being abused by Doug Kramer, while also committing two crucial mistakes with less than two minutes left to play in the game.
The newly acquired Kramer was a force inside with his physicality and motor as he produced a double-double with 17 points and 10 boards. In fairness to Coach Ato, the decision to bench Aguilar came after Petron went on a 34-19 run, with Aguilar being the defender assigned to Elijah Millsap who did a lot of damage in that run en-route to 24 points 9 rebounds 5 assists and 4 steals in the game.
Coach Ato knows and surely expects that for every loss, there will be a barrage of reactions from the Ginebra faithfull. I believe though, that there’s nobody to blame here. First and foremost, this is only Ginebra’s first game of the conference. Sure, we lost, but we played good basketball for most of that game. And this is despite some struggles from some of the team’s stars. LA Tenorio, depite deshing out 10 assists, only scored 9 points on 10 attempts, while Mark Caguioa made only six out of his 16 total attempts from the field. Defensively, the Ginebra backcourt allowed Marcio Lassiter to put up a game high 23 points. What I’m trying to get at here is that it’s hard to put the blame for this loss on one person or player. It would be best if we just took this as a learning experience and trust that the Barangay will bounce back in their next game.
Let’s take a look at Ginebra’s keys to the game and see how they did:
1. Make way for Japeth
I’ll give an X mark here. I expected Japeth to log starters minutes and to play in the crucial stages of the game, but we found him sitting on the bench in the final minutes. He only play 18 minutes but produced 8 points 5 rebounds an a block. I’m sure coach Ato will utilize him better next game.
2. We vs. Me
Ginebra recieves a check mark here. They tallied more assists than Petron (21-17), led by Tenorio’s 10. Lowhorn was also able to fit well into the team, as he was able to maintain a balance between picking his spots and dishing out to a teammate for a better shot.
3. MARKed Man
Welcome back. Caguioa was aggressive from the get go and was clearly looking for his shot early and often. He struggled to score though (15 points on 16 shots), as he was being checked by strong defenders in Tubid, Lassiter and Lutz. Expect him to have a better shooting game in their next outing.
Key Match-up: Japeth Aguilar vs. June Mar Fajardo
Both big men tallied only 18 minutes of action, but Japeth clearly had a bigger impact with 8 points, 5 rebounds and a block while The Kraken only produced 2 points 4 rebounds and 3 turnovers. Luckily for Petron, Fajardo’s struggles were nullified by the excellent play of their other gunners.
REACTION: Let’s take a look at the many different reactions we saw in social media following last night’s game.