B-MEG battles a Mark Caguioa-less Barangay Ginebra as they begin their best-of-five semifinal series of the PBA Commissioner’s Cup Wednesday at the Ynares Center in Antipolo City.
Game One is set at 6:45 p.m. with the Llamados hold a slight advantage with Caguioa doubtful in the series due to a right eye injury.
“It’s tough but we have to just find a way to make up for his absence not with one person but as a whole team,” said Kings head coach Siot Tanquingcen.
Caguioa got the injury curiously against B-MEG in their playoff match for the No. 2 seed and the remaining automatic semifinal seat.
The Kings won and the Llamados were relegated to the best-of-three quarterfinal series against Meralco, which they won in three games, 2-1.
B-MEG closed out their series with an 86-76 win over the Bolts and head coach Tim Cone welcomed the opportunity of avenging their loss in the playoff against the Kings.
“After we lost to Ginebra in the knockout, we wanted to play them again,” said Cone. “The series (against Meralco) toughened us up. It made us tougher, sharper and better.”
Even without Caguioa, Cone feels Ginebra remains a worthy opponent in the semis because of their deep roster.
“Losing Caguioa is huge for them. But they are 14-man deep. We gotta change our game plan,” he added.
Ginebra import Jackson Vroman will be pitted against B-MEG’s Denzel Bowles, who was huge in Game Three of the previous series. Bowles scored 28 points in the clincher, including 11 in the fourth quarter.
The battle of the guards are also interesting with Mike Cortez and Jayjay Helterbrand leading the Kings while Josh Urbiztondo and Mark Barroca pilot the Llamados offense.
Former B-MEG star Kerby Raymundo joins Rudy Hatfield, Dylan Ababou and Rico Villanueva in the Ginebra frontcourt as they bang with Marc Pingris, Joe Devance, and JC Intal.
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