With Brownlee, Slaughter in tow, different Ginebra faces San Miguel in Finals
It wasn’t too long ago when Barangay Ginebra was outclassed by San Miguel Beer in the Philippine Cup Finals last year.
The loss still stings for the Gin Kings, who look to get even with the Beermen in their latest finals duel starting Friday night.
“In my career, I’m just always glad whenever we make the finals and I think it adds motivation that we lost to them in the [Philippine Cup] finals,” said Ginebra guard Mark Caguioa on Tuesday.
“Yeah, I think anytime you lose and you know, we were beat soundly,” said Ginebra coach Tim Cone when asked if the loss is still in the Gin Kings’ head.
Ginebra lasted for only five games against San Miguel with its only win coming in Game 2 in overtime to level the series after getting blown out by 27 points in Game 1.
Cone hopes the finals rematch will have a different outcome especially with Greg Slaughter healthy and Justin Brownlee around.
“Of course, we didn’t have Greg then. We weren’t 100 percent,” Cone said.
“That’s the difference now and of course, Justin has always been a difference maker for us obviously we’ve won two championships with him already. He’s like my Sean Chambers of the Alaska days and whenever Sean came in we went to another level, whenever Justin comes in we go to another level.”
Slaughter missed the finals due to an ankle injury but has made up for lost time since regaining top form, helping Ginebra get back to the championship round.
“But it’s really the first time we have Greg and Japeth healthy although as I’ve mentioned, Japeth right now is a little bit gimpy. He’s not here today because he’s doing therapy as we speak and he’s trying to get 100 percent healthy for Friday,” Cone said.
Aguilar sat out the first two games of the semifinals series against Rain or Shine. He only played limited minutes in Games 3 and 4.
“But having those two together for the first time, I think that gives us the proper matchup with San Miguel and we didn’t have that in the all-Filipino with Greg and I guess we didn’t have Justin so we’re hoping it’s a different story this time around.”
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