(Photo by the PBA Media Bureau)
Prince Caperal is doing wonders for Ginebra as Tim Cone turns to the seldom-used big man in Slaughter's absence.
When the Barangay Ginebra Gin Kings knew that Greg Slaughter will miss the opening game of their semifinal series against the San Miguel Beermen, they knew it will be a difficult series as no one on their team has both the height and the strength to go head-to-head against June Mar Fajardo.
Fortunately, Tim Cone has just the thing under his sleeves.
Enter, Prince Caperal.
Just who is this Caperal anyway?
For starters, he was drafted by the GlobalPort Batang Pier as the 17th pick in the 2014 Draft. He has been bouncing from one team to the other since then and in fact, Ginebra actually acquired him in a trade back in 2015 but they immediately traded him, again. Just last month, Prince Caperal has signed a contract with Ginebra and apparently, his patience has started to paying off as Tim Cone turns on Caperal to fill in the void that Greg Slaughter used to fill.
Before the semifinal series, Caperal's name has been barely heard in the news owing to the fact that he only played 5 games this conference for a team whose front line is loaded with talent. In those 5 games, he averaged 2 points and 3 rebounds per game.
Then came the San Miguel Series.
In Game 1, he contributed 8 points and 5 rebounds.
In Game 2, he led the Gin Kings with a career-high 26 points and 7 rebounds.
In Game 3 which was won by the Gin Kings, Prince Caperal had 12 points and 4 rebounds while helping Ginebra shut down every San Miguel attempt of a comeback.
If anything, this proves one thing: Tim Cone is a basketball genius for letting seldom-used guys like Prince Caperal play and that trust has been constantly repaid with quality numbers.
If Prince Caperal continues with his stellar performance in tomorrow's Game 4 and beyond, he might give Ginebra a fighting chance against the defending champions. And if San Miguel doesn't give the Prince the respect he deserves, he will make them pay and he almost did in Game 2.