Jamie Malonzo (right) PBA PHOTO

Cone designates Malonzo as Ginebra’s import stopper

With his big man falling by the wayside due to injuries, Ginebra coach Tim Cone has asked young, athletic wingman Jamie Malonzo to do multiple roles, including the unenviable job of becoming an “import stopper.”

The multiple roles for Malonzo has been good so far as he led Ginebra with 28 points and 10 rebounds in the Gin Kings’ 115-100 win NorthPort Batang Pier last Friday.

Ginebra didn’t have veteran big men Christian Standhardinger and Japeth Aguilar, both out with separate knee injuries. Worse, backup big man Raymond Aguilar also got hurt in the first half, leaving Cone with no choice but to play small with Malonzo and Filipino-American rookie Jeremiah Gray, teaming up with import Justin Brownlee on the floor at some point.

“We have asked Jamie to really do a hard thing, to be our primary lead import stopper,” Cone said, during the post-game talk with media. “All the stuff you see on floor, and that is despite fact that he literally give his100 percent commitment to guarding the import all the time, that’s not easy.”

Cone, now in his 34th year coaching in the PBA, said during his early years as Alaska coach, local players tasked to defend an import only does one thing — guard the opposing reinforcement.

“In the old days, you have like my assistant Freddie Abuda (then playing for San Miguel), who’ll go out there, played the import all game long, but he wasn’t involved on offense, and perhaps just get a few rebounds so he could focus on just guarding the import,” recalled the 65-year-old Ginebra mentor.

“But the game has evolved. Everybody has to do a lot already, plus he’d (Malonzo) do all the stuff like running the floor, making dunks, with all his energy, and get rebounds,” added Cone.

The American coach said in physically challenging moments like this, Ginebra is learning to be more “agile and creative” while trying to win as many games as possible early in the PBA Governors’ Cup.

“These guys are doing good job being agile, moving quick with their feet, changing this to that,” he said. “They are doing a great job making adjustments, because that”s basically what we can do at this point.”

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