2015-2016 PHILIPPINE CUP PREVIEW: BARAKO BULL ENERGY vs BGY. GINEBRA GIN KINGS - TRICK OR THREAT?

Both Barako Bull and Ginebra endured losses in their first games of the season. The Energy lost to NLEX after slowing down in the second half, while the Gin Kings’ rally in the fourth quarter wasn’t enough to overhaul an early big deficit against the Star Hotshots. In this Halloween match-up between teams who are looking to bounce back, the mood will certainly not be friendly and light. Instead it’ll be hostile and threatening. Trick or treat? Nope. Trick or threat!




BAR started their game against NLX strongly, leading after one quarter, 25-18. Willy Wilson and Mick Pennisi did well in that period, combining for 11 points, but the Energy just couldn’t sustain it the rest of the way. A big third quarter explosion by NLX gave them the lead for good as BAR couldn’t mount a big enough rally in the fourth.

GIN started flat against STA, falling behind by more than 30 points. GIN actually outscored the Hotshots in 3 of the 4 quarters they played, but that early deficit was just too big for the Kings to overhaul.

1. BIDANG PALABAN: WILLY WILSON
- BAR isn’t exactly the most star-studded team in the league, so someone like Wilson can really step in and occasionally put up big numbers. He did exactly that against NLX, reeling in a double-double that, unfortunately, wasn’t enough to give his team the win. He will have a tougher time doing that against a much bigger GIN team, though.

Last game: 16pts, 17rebs, 6asts, 1stl


2. READY FOR LAUNCH: JC INTAL
- After a marquee season in 2014-2015 and a stint with Gilas 3.0, it sure looks like JC Intal is ready for another season of highlights. He struggled from the field a little bit against NLX, but he was still able to come up with 16 points. He had trouble taking care of the ball, though, recording 4 turnovers, so that’s something he definitely needs to fix.

Last game: 16pts, 6rebs, 1ast, 1stl, 1blk


Is JC Intal primed to take another leap this season?


3. MGA BIDANG BAGUHAN NG BARAKO: CRUZ & BARACAEL
- New BAR players Jervy Cruz and Mac Baracael didn’t exactly make big impacts in their loss to NLX. Cruz played only 14 minutes, though he did score 7 points and grab 8 rebounds. Maybe he could’ve recorded a double-double had he played for much longer. Baracael, meanwhile, played 19 minutes, but could only manage 4 points and 3 assists. These two new Energy players should drop bigger numbers if this team is to succeed. Then again, who knows if either one will be staying put for the long term anyway?

Cruz last game: 7pts, 8rebs
Baracael last game: 4pts, 1reb, 3asts


4. BARAKO: GETTING TO THE LINE
- One thing BAR did well against NLX was to stay aggressive, for which they rewarded with 31 free throws. The Energy converted on 19 of these, which is a sorry thing because they lost by just 8 points. If BAR can stay aggressive in attacking the basket, they may be able to stand a chance of upsetting GIN here.

Last game: 31 free throw attempts
Wilson: 7/8
Intal: 3/6
Cruz: 3/5


5. GAHIGATENG BIDA: GREGZILLA
- There were few bright spots for GIN in their loss to STA, but one of them was certainly Slaughter, who put up beastly numbers. He has always seemed to be in the shadow of SMB’s June Mar Fajardo as the league’s best center, but if Gregzilla can be consistent with this kind of production, he will give the Kraken a run for this season’s MVP plum.

Last game: 28pts, 16rebs, 4asts, 1blk, 12/18 FGs.


Gregzilla had a monster outing against Star. Is that a sign of things to come?


6. JUMPING JAPETH!
- Like Greg, Japeth provided a lot of highlights for GIN, though even their double-doubles couldn’t carry the Kings past the Hotshots. Still, it’s a very good sign that Japeth looks extra motivated to start the season. If his aggressiveness remains at a high level and he continues to be healthy, who knows what his ceiling will be?

Japeth last game: 26pts, 16rebs, 4asts, 1blk, 12/21 FGs.


7. BIDANG BAGUHAN NG GINEBRA: EARL SCOTTIE THOMPSON
- Rookie Scottie Thompson made quite the impression for GIN and its fans. He came on strong in the fourth quarter as GIN rallied to make the score more respectable. Even if he didn’t play a whole lot, there’s a lot to like about his game. In particular, 6 assists and 2 steals in just 17 minutes? Oh what potential!

Last game: 5pts, 3rebs, 6asts, 2stls


8. GINEBRA: POINT GUARD VOID
- One main problem for GIN in their last game was the PG spot, where none of their three marquee playmakers really made an impact. Veterans Helterbrand, Tenorio, and Mercado could only produce a combined 4 rebounds, 5 assists, 6 turnovers, and ZERO points. Yikes. 

Helterbrand last game: 0pts, 1reb, 1TO
Tenorio last game: 0pts, 2rebs, 4asts, 1stl, 1blk, 2TOs
Mercado last game: 0pt,s 1reb, 1ast, 1stl, 3 TOs
Total minutes played: 57 


LA Tenorio needs to be more productive for Ginebra.

9. BANGGAAN NG MGA BIDANG GWARDIYA: GARCIA VS TENORIO
- Tenorio definitely needs a good bounce back game after a forgettable outing against STA. He will be tested here by young gun RR Garcia, who had a pretty good line against NLX. Garcia’s playmaking and shooting should pose a challenge to Tenorio, but the veteran’s savvy should make him have the edge here.

RR Garcia last game: 10pts, 4rebs, 1stl, 1 triple
LA Tenorio last game: 0pts, 2rebs, 4asts, 1stl, 1blk


Can RR Garcia stand toe to toe with LA Tenorio?


Images by Paul Ryan Tan.



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