Undermanned Ginebra overwhelms NorthPort
Barangay Ginebra’s rich experience and solid team chemistry were enough even in the absence of big men Christian Standhardinger and Japeth Aguilar as the Gin Kings overwhelmed NorthPort Batang Pier, 115-100, in their 2022-23 PBA Governors’ Cup on Friday evening, February 10, at the SM Mall of Asia Arena.
Filipino-American wingman Jamie Malonzo dropped 19 of his 28 points in the second half, while import Justin Brownlee registered a triple-double of 22 points, 15 rebounds and 12 assists as the Gin Kings collected their third victory in as many starts for the conference.
Guard Nard Pinto took advantage of the time he had on the floor as he contributed 18 points while Ginebra coach Tim Cone had veteran playmaker LA Tenorio in minutes restriction while nursing an abdominal strain.
Already without Standhardinger, the Commissioner’s Cup Finals MVP, and Aguilar, who both sustained knee injuries, Ginebra’s third-string big man Raymond Aguilar joined the growing list of injured players when he himself got hurt in the opening half.
“We’re just looking for opportunities to win. Anytime we win this early is big for us so obviously we’re gonna wear down, so winning is important for us,” said Ginebra coach Tim Cone after the game. “So we’re riding the horse really hard.”
The absence of three big men forced coach Tim Cone to play small, while relying on their solid ball movement that yielded 30 assists and 11 three-point shots in the game.
The Gin Kings still managed to dominate the boards amid their injury issues at the frontline after holding a 54-40 advantage in the rebounds department.
The loss kept NorthPort winless in five games, spoiling the return of ace guard Robert Bolick, who debuted this conference with 30 points, five rebounds and three assists.
Kevin Murphy, back for a second PBA tour of duty after taking the spot of Marcus Weathers, had a strong debut in a NorthPort uniform with 38 points and 11 boards but could not lift his team to victory.