Slaughter slaughters Magnolia with a huge double-double performance.
Heading into the season's first conference after winning two consecutive Governors' Cup titles, both against the Meralco Bolts, expectations have been sky-high for the Barangay Ginebra Gin Kings. With Greg Slaughter, fresh from winning the Best Player of the Conference award in the last conference, back in full health and playing like the monster he was advertised a few years ago, many pundits are starting to believe that the Gin Kings have been seasoned to challenge the supremacy of the San Miguel Beermen- at least in the Philippine Cup.
True enough, the Gin Kings started the new season the way their fans always wanted: a win on Christmas Day against the Magnolia Hotshots as the crowd darlings opened the season with an 89-78 victory over the Hotshots who were missing the services of many of their players due to injuries.
So what enabled the Gin Kings to win at the Philippine Arena? Below are the numbers:
We all know that when Greg Slaughter is healthy and playing the way he should be, it's almost impossible for whoever who is guarding him to contain him and even Norman Black saw that, twice. Against the Hotshots, Slaughter scored 24 points while grabbing 12 rebounds. He went 10 for 14 in the field while making 4 of 5 from the free throw line. All that in 33 minutes of action. Efficient, isn't it?
Shooting Well and Defending Well
If there are two things which enabled the Gin Kings to win two consecutive Governors' Cup championships in two tries, it would be their ability to play well on both ends of the court. On Christmas Day, Ginebra shot 44% from the field while forcing Magnolia to only 46% field goal shooting. While both squads struggled from rainbow country, it was the shooting percentage from the 2-point area which enabled Ginebra to come out on top and hold onto the lead throughout the game.
LA Tenorio, one of the smallest guys on the court, stood the tallest during Ginebra's championship run in the last conference despite playing through pain. Against Mark Barroca and company, he contributed 15 points and 8 assists. While he struggled from the field with his 5 for 15 shooting including a 3 for 11 outing from the three-point line, he helped shut down Barroca who only managed 4 points while going 2 for 12 from the field. Tinyente added 5 steals and a blocked shot to his all-around performance.
Are the Gin Kings talented enough to dethrone the league's best all-local team? That remains to be seen. However, if you look at their game against Magnolia, it would seem that, it's the case. Ginebra is definitely one of those teams that can seriously become a threat to the Beermen. They will only need one thing: consistency.