October 23, 2017, 3:42 pm
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Kings-Bolts II: Size vs versatility

MERALCO hopes to act out the role of David to Ginebra’s Goliaths this time around when the two teams reprise their PBA Governors Cup championship series starting tonight at the Quezon Convention Center in Lucena City.

The best-of-seven affair is expected to be a lot tougher than their titular duel last year which the Kings won in six games, but only through a buzzer-beating triple by Justin Brownlee.

The Bolts have learned a lot from that maiden finals appearance and they intend to put them into good use in this rematch.

First, Meralco coach Norman Black has to solve the puzzle offered by Ginebra’s towering frontline of Greg Slaughter and Japeth Aguilar complemented by the 6-foot-7 Joe Devance and 6-foot-5 Brownlee.

“They are the biggest team in the league and I think with the return of Greg they gained the confidence they could just overpower people,” said Black, referring to the 7-foot center who sat out last year’s finals due to a knee injury.

“Particularly in the course of a game with their physical post offense, they constantly pound the ball inside,” added Black. “That’s gonna be a problem for us because we don’t have the size they have.” 

But there’s one thing working for the Bolts.

“What we do have is the versatility defensively,” noted Black. “We can go big, we can go small but no matter what we do we can never be as big as them.”

“We’d always be the bigger team. You can’t be the bigger team with Greg and Japeth and Joe playing in the guard line,” countered Ginebra coach Tim Cone, noting Meralco is not that too far behind in height and heft and has other things going for it as well.

“Meralco is probably the most balanced team out there, gives you a whole bunch of different looks. It’s gonna be hard for us to dictate and match up with them because they do have a lot of versatility. Basically, we’ll probably be going back-and-forth and find the match up and see where their versatility takes us,” added Cone.

“They, too, have size, and strength, and quickness so they can play you any way they want. It’s up to us to find ways to match up with them.”

And of course there’s Allen Durham, the reigning Best Import who seems a cinch to retain the plum after averaging 25.46 points on top of conference highs in rebounds (20.06) and assists (6.81).

“Mr. Durham really changes things and makes a big impact on how we have to defend and they can play big and they can play small and quick with him. His versatility really gives us fits,” admitted Cone.

Black also bared his basic game plan. “The most important thing is for us to control the rebounds,” he said. 

“If we do get stops we have to prevent them getting second chance points and that would give us the chance to get out and run.”
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