Time to step up
Charles Garcia has more reason to step up big time than just bouncing back from a poor first outing. With crowd favorite Justin Brownlee ready to link up with Barangay Ginebra, every game will be an audition for Garcia to continue on as the Kings’ import.
That starts Sunday, when the Kings battle the TNT KaTropa in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup at Mall of Asia Arena.
“Now that our import Chuck Garcia had a full week of practice without issues, we’re hoping he can put a better performance together and live up to his potential,” said Barangay Ginebra coach Tim Cone.
Garcia had 19 points, eight rebounds and six assists but lacked the fire to save the Kings in their 21-point setback to the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters.
Brownlee, who led Barangay Ginebra to back-to-back championships in the Governors Cup, recently hogged the limelight when he proved instrumental during the championship run of Alab Pilipinas last week in the Asean Basketball League.
Brownlee expressed interest to suit up for the Kings in the ongoing conference after Cone texted him prior to Alab’s Game 5 championship finale.
But Cone isn’t merely concerned about the import situation.
“We need our locals to step up as well. TNT is such a tough matchup for us because they have such different strengths than us,” said Cone. “Who can play their game will be the key.”
Terrence Romeo and Troy Rosario can cause headaches for the Kings as well as Jayson Castro, Jericho Cruz and import Jeremy Tyler.
TNT coach Nash Racela is taking the Ginebra match as a big test for his KaTropa. For Racela, the Kings form part of the league’s Big 3 together with the Beermen and the Magnolia Hotshots, who debut today vs Phoenix in the 4:30 p.m. curtain-raiser.
After losing to the San Miguel Beermen in the Philippine Cup, the Hotshots took a long break and will parade Vernon Macklin, who previously played for Ginebra, against the Fuel Masters.
Meanwhile, two former national pool members show the way for the Luzon selection when it takes its turn to host the Philippine men’s team during the PBA All-Star week.
Raymund Almazan and Ian Sangalang form a dreaded frontcourt trio with Japeth Aguilar for the Luzon team of coach Leo Austria as it tries to neutralize the steady presence of June Mar Fajardo for the nationals in their May 25 encounter in Batangas City.
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