MANILA, Philippines—If coach Alfrancis Chua could point out the difference between that Ginebra which lost three straight and the one which nabbed its first win on Wednesday: it’s the import.
Chua credited Vernon Macklin’s involvement on the offense — but not just in scoring — in the Kings 93-72 crushing of Barako Bull in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup.
“Ang maganda dito, namamasa sya. Magaling sya mag-assist, alam nya kung sino open man. Pag pick and roll, inaantay pa nya dumating yung local, tapos i-ha-hand off nya ulit. Malaking bagay yun,” said Chua.
It took Ginebra five tries before getting that first win, three with Herbert Hill and two with Macklin, who finished with 21 points, 14 rebounds and four assists in 37 minutes.
But it helped the Kings cause so well when they also started knocking down their shots while forcing the Energy to work for every shot, all game long.
Ginebra pounced on an error-prone Barako Bull, holding the Energy to just 26 at the half and harvesting 25 points off turnovers.
“The past few games, we can’t make a basket. Open shot, di kami makashoot. If we can’t make a basket, siguro kumpyansa lang. I told them believe in themselves and their teammates,” said Chua.
“Siguro naman, they’re enjoying a while ago. Yung mga assist namin, makikita mo naman nagpapasahan na. Kasi nagkakatiwala na sila sa import,” he added.
And Macklin’s relentless efforts on both ends of the court, Chua believes, is the reason for the renewed vigor.
“Ngayon nakikita nila ito [Macklin] nagpapakamatay para sa kanila. So malaking bagay yun na hindi bumibigay,” Chua prasied.
But Chua, who also got his first win as head coach, insisted that the league’s most popular squad has never lost its heart even in the face of a four-game tailspin.
“I think we’re the shortest team. After our import ang sentro ko si Billy Mamaril na, tapos si [Rudy] Haftfield. But still, medyo nananalo pa rin kami sa rebound, kahit maliliit,” said Chua.
The Kings, though, were outrebounded by the Energy by six, but had the edge in that department in their previous two games.
“Hindi walang gana yung Ginebra. May puso yung Ginebra to get that rebound like that. Kelangan lang pumasok mga shot namin,” said Chua.