That veggie has been well associated to none other than the most popular professional team in the country, Barangay Ginebra San Miguel.

There’s utterly no word more sufficient to describe a team that’s loaded over the top but continues to implode when the games actually matter. It’s like having to deal with Carlos Boozer, prodigious in production for the regular season games but absolutely disappears when the games start to actually matter.

Or maybe you can attach chronic underachiever, mess, or offensive basketball.

It was just offensive how they played, not recognizing their best weapon, and with everyone out of sync. Maybe this was brought upon by so many stars trying to show each other up? Or maybe not utilizing guys who have the best fit on the floor (uhm…doesn’t this sound pretty familiar)?

So how does Ginebra translate the talent to wins, now that they have a new, and absolutely better, coach? Will they actually start playing basketball?

Season 40 Recap: Mired in Mediocrity

For what it’s worth, Barangay Ginebra should’ve stayed patient.

It’s their impatience that is impeding them to actually have success on the hardcourt. They change coaches as often as Barako trades their best players in a conference.

Also, they seem to still have that Fast and Furious hangover when it is definitely over. Greg Slaughter, for all those soft labels, still cannot command the ball with a ball-dominant guard and a regressing point guard (oh hey, remember the Lakers with Derek Fisher?). Japeth Aguilar, for all his potential, still cannot deliver on a consistent basis, especially in an import-laden conference. But then again, I do not get the logic of finding a big man import when you have a 6’9″ stretch four and a 7’0″ center.

But as we say that, we do not even get the logic of firing your coaches after one conference either.

What’s even more mind-boggling is the fact that the team stayed in the upper half of the league in terms of statistics. They weren’t actually bad. They were decent. But decent is not going to cut it when you have a team brimming with that much talent.

Here’s a look at some stats for Ginebra during the ’14-’15 Philippine Cup:


Click the image for a bigger picture.

Those are pretty average for a loaded team. But since we’re just zooming in on Ginebra, here’s how they actually ranked in some of those categories during the Philippine Cup:

  • PPG – 3rd
  • FG% – 7th
  • 3FG% – 7th
  • FT% – 2nd
  • RPG – 1st
  • APG – 1st
  • SPG – 8th
  • BPG – 3rd

In terms of advanced stats, Ginebra was quite magnanimous when it comes to translating the raw ones. They had one of the best offenses, cracking the 100 ORTG mark with 100.3 while having a Top-4 defensive rating of 94.9, just a tad bit above the league average of 96.5, which rounds out to a 5.4 net rating. All of this while playing at the league’s top pace of 90.6 (no I’m not kidding, that’s tops already).

One of their strengths during that Philippine Cup run was their ability to gobble rebounds available to them, to the tune of a 55.8% Rebound rating and another was having an a whopping 62.6 assist percentage. That means, for every basket that Ginebra made, it was from an assist. They can find the open guys. And they get rebounds, which means they are controlling the game, grabbing an eye-popping 35.4% of available offensive rebounds (okay kidding, but you get it). Which makes their chronic underachieving really mind-boggling.

Ginebra players recieving their runner up trophy (photo credit: Pranz Kaeno Billiones, Sports5)

GREAT PHILIPPINE CUP GUYS!!! (Trophy is an optional part.) // Pranz Kaeno Billiones, Sports5

However, when the Commissioner’s Cup and Governor’s Cup rolled around, boy those figures really plummeted, with only their FG% and 3FG% remaining consistent in an atrocious manner. But the good thing is, the steals department and assists department were still in *elite* levels:

Commissioner’s Cup

89.8 42.2 29.1 70.2 47.5 18.5 7.4 3.6

Governor’s Cup

97.5 42.4 32.3 69.6 47.1 19.8 6.2 3.7

Bear in mind that these two conference have imports involved so stats are definitely going to balloon given their performances.

However, there is no denying that this greatly affected their impressive outing in the Philippine Cup. Compare the stats they compiled as opposed to the previous conferences in order (Commissioner’s and Governor’s):

90.6 (3RD) 100.3 (4TH) 94.9 (4TH) 55.8 (1ST) 62.6 (1ST) 35.4 (1ST) 5.4
90.8 (8TH) 99.0 (6TH) 96.9 (3RD) 50.1 (7TH) 57.3 (2ND) 31.8 (4TH) 3.9
 93.8 (5TH) 103.0 (8TH) 102.7 (7TH)  49.6 (5TH) 57.7 (2ND)  29.5 (7TH)  1.7

The assist rating was still okay, but the rebounding, their bread and butter, my God. Dropping six ranks is unimaginable. I would not even delve into the Governor’s Cup version for it’ll be pretty status quo…


…with regards to the Commissioner’s Cup.

In a way, Ginebra was a ningas-kugon team. They started the year on a good note amidst another coaching change, but just dropped with no dignity the following conferences.

We're all hoping it's not a serious injury for Japeth (photo credit: spin.ph)

This is what Ginebra looked like in the second and third conferences. // Spin.ph

Looking Forward

Tim Cone is aboard.

That’s all everybody needs to know. However, what they should know is that success is not overnight. We’re going back to the culture of impatience that pervades this franchise. Jeffrey Cariaso placed well before sputtering to the finish line. He was replaced.

Tim Cone is installing the same offense so it will take time before they’d really win games. If for anything, LA Tenorio ends up reuniting with the coach who transformed him into an MVP-caliber point guard (who got robbed of course). But this is not what Ginebra fans should look forward to. Instead, they should look at Tim Cone’s work with big men in the triangle.

Which brings us to…

The Secret to Success

When you have a big man who is able to generate his offense, maybe it’s smart to give him the ball all the time? I don’t know, a USG% of 24.1, 24.3, and 19.4 over the course of the season is probably not going to cut it even if you have an import.

Looks like Japeth is the beneficiary of the new line-up. (photo credit: pinoyexchange.com)

Ibigay mo kasi kay Greg yung bola! Fired coach probably. // Pinoy Exchange

Here’s a 7-foot guy who averaged a measly 14.6ppg, 10.4rpg, and 1.2bpg while shooting 51% from the floor and 66.8% from the line last season. Granted, he did not even drop a monster 20-10 line when he was with Ateneo in the amateur ranks, but I expected him to be fed the ball every time in the pros…

…which hasn’t happened as much as I’d like if I were the coach. And to that, I think his old coach may have something to say. Right, coach Norman?


or would this be more appropriate?

BlackHeadache (2)

It’s up to coach Tim to pull up Slaughter’s overall impact on the game as much as his rival June Mar Fajardo. He has to throw his weight around for wherever he goes, so does Ginebra, now that we’re done with the Caguioa era (FINALLY). Look at this: with Slaughter on the floor last season, Ginebra’s ORTG was boosted to 110.9 while the DRTG was at 95.4. That’s a 15.5 net rating when Slaughter was one of the five on the court.

I’d like to think that the triangle should work with Greg as the lynchpin. Then again, with a team built to run, coach Tim might also want to throw some sets to divert attention away from the triangle but still ending up in a triangle (we did note down some actual sets they can use a long time ago).

Kangkong or Not?

After laying down all the data, it still boils down to whether Ginebra will be #Kangkongsanity once more or not.

To be honest with you guys, they’ll win a significant amount of games. As for a title, no. Not now. Not yet. Sa tamang panahon.

A triangle offense is not learned overnight. A full offseason can work some magic yes, but it’s a work in progress. If after two seasons they still can’t capitalize after all the pick hoarding from Barako, then we can throw in the towel.