Aggressiveness, not just zone defense, was key to blowout win, say Ginebra players

Rey Joble, · Friday, January 31, 2014 · 11:31 pm
PBA/Nuki Sabio
PBA/Nuki Sabio

Barangay Ginebra San Miguel sprung a suffocating zone defense against the San Mig Super Coffee Mixers in Game Two of their PLDT Home DSL Philippine Cup semifinals matchup on Friday.

That resulted in a 93-64 blowout for the Gin Kings, who tied their best-of-seven showdown at 1-all.

But for the players, the zone wasn’t the only key factor to the team’s defense.

“Nakatulong sa amin yung nag-uusap kami sa loob. Importante yun, kahit na nag-zone kami, aggressive pa rin kami. Parang naka-match up zone kami,” said Ginebra center Jay-R Reyes.

“Kung sinong may hawak ng bola, kailangan i-pressure pa rin namin. Kapag naman may naiiwan, may help parati so at least maganda yung ipinakita namin.”

Ginebra veteran Jayjay Helterbrand said the zone was one of the weapons honed by the Gin Kings prior to the game.

“We were working on that in practice, but it was a gametime decision by Coach (Ato Agustin). He worked out on that thinking we were a little tired. So we were able to go to zone. Good thing their outside shots weren’t really falling,” Helterbrand told InterAksyon.

“Defensively, we were more aggressive. We were focusing on Yancy (de Ocampo) and the rookie (Justin Melton), make sure he won’t keep his outside shots against us. So we focused on them.”

Chris Ellis said the tactic allowed Ginebra to counter San Mig Coffee’s mid-range shooting.

“They got the tendency of letting their big guys float, so they get a lot of mid-range jumpers,” said Ellis. “To counter that, we moved into a zone so we can fix the problem areas. But the intensity and aggressiveness worked well for us. In this league, when you’re the aggressor, particularly on the defensive end, a lot of good things happen.”

But for Japeth Aguilar it was the team’s defensive effort that should be noted as the big factor in the win.

“We practice it, but it was our energy which spelled the difference,” he said.

Winning the boards

That energy translated into rebounds as the Gin Kings handily won the battle of the boards, 55-32. Center Greg Slaughter led the way, grabbing 12 rebounds.

But the Ginebra second unit was not left out. Ellis grabbed eight rebounds, including four on the offensive end, as Ginebra looked visibly more energetic that San Mig Coffee.

“In this league, if you’re the aggressor, a lot of good things happen,” he said.

Reyes, who had seven rebounds, added: “Yung second group namin, nag-concentrate sa rebounding and defense.”

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