MANILA, Philippines—All Ginebra needed to do was stare at its dismal record early in the 2013 PBA Commissioner’s Cup to light a fire under themselves.
Knowing they can’t afford to go on another losing streak with a deep playoff run in mind, the Kings turned it up a notch against defending titlist San Mig Coffee on Sunday, 96-88.
“What else can you do? Wala nang pupuntahan kundi pataas na lang, nasa ilalim na kami eh,” said Ginebra’s star guard Mark Caguioa in a television interview at the half, referring to their erstwhile 1-5 card.
And Caguioa led by example, knocking down 25 points including two pivotal triples in the final minute and half to keep the Mixers at bay.
He admitted the constant shuffling of teammates takes its toll as the league’s most popular squad haven’t had luck in its championship bid in the recent years.
“Di ba every conference iba iba yung players eh so mahirap mag-gel talaga, so it’s going to take time,” Caguioa said.
But the Kings, this time, showed great display of chemistry and firepower with LA Tenorio effectively setting his teammates up for buckets, while Macklin making best of those timely passes.
Tenorio finished with a double-double for the second game in a row, with 12 points, four rebounds, 13 assists and two steals.
“I thank the Lord for giving us the strength, kasi talagang wala na eh. Kailangan na namin manalo this game,” said Tenorio
“[Yun ang kailangan namin] sacrifice sa offense at kailangan talaga namin malaman yung role namin this time, this game pinakita namin yung ganda ng depensa namin,” he added.
The Kings held the Mixers to just 35 points at the half and James Yap spellbound for most of the fourth quarter.
“Nagtulungan talaga kami sa game na to, na magcommit kami sa defense for 48 minutes,” Tenorio said.
Macklin also showcased his athleticism, going up for a slam or two including the punctuation throwdown in the winding seconds of the game.
But it was his relentlessness which impressed head coach Al Francis Chua the most. Macklin finished with 20 points, 16 rebounds and three assists.
“Sa akin lang yung puso ng import namin, alam ko pagod na pagod na pero di nagpapalabas at lumalaban talaga kanina,” he said.
“We played with heart tonight,” Chua added.
It’s not going to be easy for Ginebra, though, with Talk N’ Text as its next opponent next Sunday — but a good win like this could be the push it needs to make a run.