Struggling Barangay Ginebra San Miguel needs to come up with a sterling showing today as it faces pacesetting Magnolia in a Philippine Basketball Association Commissioner’s Cup marquee matchup at the Mall of Asia Arena.
The Gin Kings have been blowing hot and cold and have yet to find their rhythm, something they cannot afford to showcase against the more consistent Hotshots.
Reigning Most Valuable Player Scottie Thompson, athletic big man Japeth Aguilar, and the ever- reliable LA Tenorio, have yet to make an impact this conference.
In fact, their numbers are down from the previous conference.
Thompson averaged 16.7 points per game last conference, but is only producing 8.8 points per game in the ongoing import-laced tournament.
Even his shooting percentages are slipping.
From 50.9 percent field goal shooting the last conference to 37.1 percent shooting this conference and Thompson’s free throws sank from 73.5 percent last conference to 53.8 percent this conference.
Like Thompson, Aguilar, the 6-foot-9 athletic forward, has yet to impose his will in the Commissioner’s Cup.
He averaged 17.1 points, 58.5 percent field goal shooting and eight rebounds per game last conference, Aguilar’s numbers slipped to 7.5 points, 48.1 percent field goal shooting and five rebounds per game during this conference.
Tenorio, the cool and calculating guard, is also stricken with the same malady as Thompson and Aguilar.
Nowadays, Tenorio only averages 3.8 points, shoots 6.3 percent from three-point range, just 1.5 assists and 22.1 minutes per game.
Previously, the former Ateneo hotshot normed 9.6 points and did 30.1 percent three-point shooting, 5.1 feeds and 35.6 minutes a game.
Even though two-time Best Import Justin Brownlee has been working his tail off, he is in dire need of support from the locals.
Still, even if the Gin Kings suddenly takes a page from the past, it would be challenging to topple a Hotshots squad that has found a way to win each time despite injuries on some of their main men.
Head coach Chito Victolero will show up on a mobility scooter owing to a ruptured Achilles tendon while Serbian import Nick Rakocevic, hobbled by knee problems, will be right there to create problems for opposing teams.
Playing hurt, Rakocevic averages 30 points an outing and a league-best 18.6 boards a game.