It had only been less than two months ago since Barangay Ginebra’s controversial 83-84 loss to GlobalPort in the Philippine Cup quarterfinals.
Tipped to reach the semis under coach Tim Cone’s first conference, the Kings instead, saw their playoff run end with a loud thud.
But Cone said all that is water under the bridge.
With Othyus Jeffers already working back to shape and coming in to join the team three weeks ago, Ginebra seemed poised for a strong charge to start the Commissioner’s Cup.
The Kings though have to contend with the fact that starting slotman Greg Slaughter, the team’s top scorer and rebounder in the All-Filipino conference, won’t be around due to measles.
That leaves Japeth Aguilar, Dave Marcelo, Joe Devance and even Jervy Cruz to man the painted area, along with Jeffers.
In my recent visits at Ginebra’s practice (and tune-up games included), what’s noticeable is the energy, the excitement and the focus the Kings have as they head to the mid-season conference.
The Kings may have the shortest import in Jeffers, but I feel the 2014 NBA D-League MVP could blend well with the team because of his ability to defend the perimeter and run the floor.
Once Slaughter returns, Ginebra will have its “Twin Towers” back, with Jeffers playing the three-position, a solid front court to contend with.
Throw in playmaker LA Tenorio, guards Sol Mercado, Mark Caguioa and Jayjay Helterbrand plus rookie Scottie Thompson, and this Ginebra team is bound to give defending champ Tropang TNT and powerhouse squads like San Miguel Beer, Alaska and Rain or Shine a run for their money as the Kings look to end their eight-year title drought.
Return of the Kings? What are your thoughts?
Below is a clip of Othyus Jeffers’ game-winning three against Star in their tuneup game on Feb. 3, 2016: