Peter June Simon may have provided the game-winning basket, but it was B-MEG’s defense that was the key to its 74-72 victory over Barangay Ginebra in a Manila Clasico thriller on Friday night.
And stopping the Gin Kings means stopping one man: Ginebra superstar Mark Caguioa.
Caguioa came into the game averaging just 5.5 points over two matches against the Llamados this conference, both Ginebra losses. This time, the hotshot shooting guard scored 14 points, but was limited to just two points in the fourth quarter.
“He’s the heartbeat of this team, so we did everything in stopping him,” veteran B-MEG center Raffi Reavis told InterAKTV. “All we did was make things hard for him. We know he’s a volume shooter and he will take shots, no matter how many are they. But we made sure there will be active players going to defend him.”
Llamados big men Reavis, Yancy De Ocampo, and Marc Pingris helped out B-MEG’s guards hound Caguioa to just 6-of-19 shooting from the field in 37 minutes of action.
“Ang ginagawa namin, tina-trap namin siya,” said Pingris. “Hinahayaan namin na iba yung tumira dail 70-80 percent of the time, kapag siya may hawak, may tsansa na maka-score siya.”
B-MEG superstar James Yap also had his turn on the Ginebra scoring machine, and he doffed his hat to his rival. “Obvious naman, kapag napigilan mo siya mas malaki tsansa na manalo,” said Yap. “Siya ang bumubuhay sa team niya.”
Point guard Mark Barroca said Caguioa, with his size and experience, was a tough matchup at the post.
“Kapag pinostehan niya ako, delikado dahil malaki siya sa akin, kaya medyo tinutulak ko siya palabas and let him take the outside shot,” he said.
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