Barangay Ginebra San Miguel got a lucky break following the cancellation of the Philippine Basketball Association Commissioner’s Cup due to super typhoon “Karding” over the weekend.
Kings coach Tim Cone yesterday said the brief pause gave them the luxury of time to integrate their new players — Jamie Malonzo and Von Pessumal — into their system.
Malonzo and Pessumal are tipped to play crucial roles for the powerhouse Kings.
Malonzo, an electrifying swingman from De La Salle University, landed on Ginebra camp via a three-team deal that involved NorthPort and San Miguel Beer.
He averaged 17.2 points, 10.3 rebounds, 2.2 assists, 1.9 steals, 1.4 blocks for the Batang Pier in the recent Philippine Cup where they missed the post-season with a 3-8 win-loss record.
With the Kings, he is tipped to provide depth, athleticism and energy at the wing position while helping reigning Most Valuable Player Scottie Thompson carry the scoring cudgels.
Pessumal, a former Ateneo de Manila sniper, is expected to be a valuable contributor as well.
He averaged 4.0 points and 1.4 rebounds for the Beermen in the season-opening conference, but his ability to drop long bombs will be very crucial as it will give scorers like Malonzo, Thompson and Stanley Pringle as well as big men Christian Standhardinger and Japeth Aguilar a bigger room to operate.
The Kings were supposed to parade Malonzo and Pessumal in their game against Converge, but the league decided to scrap the scheduled match after Metro Manila was placed under Signal No. 3.
Cone said the typhoon served as a blessing in disguise.
“We just traded for Jamie and Von so we can use the delay to continue to integrate them into our system,” Cone told Daily Tribune in a conversation.
“They are coming along. We expect them to make an impact right away and get better as the conference continues.”
Getting a couple of days of rest before facing Rain or Shine on Wednesday at the Mall of Asia Arena is very important to the successful debut of Malonzo and Pessumal in Kings’ uniform.
After all, Cone’s system is quite complicated and very detailed as it puts special emphasis on familiarity, fluidity and cohesion on both ends of the floor.
This is also the reason why Cone opted to use a resident import during his successful stints at Alaska, San Mig Coffee and Ginebra.
At Alaska, he banked on do-it-all forward Sean Chambers that led to the 1996 grand slam while Marqus Blakely served as his biggest weapon when he guided the Mixers to the triple crown in 2014.
Cone still uses the same tried and tested formula as Justin Brownlee is set to see action in his eighth tour of duty with five titles and two Best Import awards under his belt.
Still, Cone is keeping an eye on his new recruits and how they will play when they face the young crew of veteran mentor Yeng Guiao.
“As for the postponement, we’ll use the extra couple of days to prepare for Coach Yeng and ROS,” Cone said.