Stopping Joshua Smith is a priority for Brgy. Ginebra

Paul Lintag on Jun 13, 2017 08:03 AM
Stopping Joshua Smith is a priority for Brgy. Ginebra
To say that the Gin Kings struggled against Smith in Game 1 last Sunday would be an understatement. The hulking 6'10" import punished the Ginebra frontline for 35 points and 13 rebounds, leading the KaTropa to a 100-94 win and and early lead in the race-to-3 affair.

Ginebra's mission for Game 2 of its 2017 PBA Commissioner's Cup semifinal series against TNT is pretty simple.

Find a way to stop Joshua Smith.

To say that the Gin Kings struggled against Smith in Game 1 last Sunday would be an understatement. The hulking 6'10" import punished the Ginebra frontline for 35 points and 13 rebounds, leading the KaTropa to a 100-94 win and and early lead in the race-to-3 affair.

Smith dropped 29 of his 35 points in the second half alone and he only played for less than 30 minutes. Overall, a pretty bad outing for the Gin Kings.

For Game 2, key members of the Ginebra frontline pretty much share the same sentiment that they need to find a way to slow down TNT's juggernaut.

"He was a dominant force in the paint. We have to do something different, maybe something, I don't know," Justin Brownlee said, Smith's counterpart for Ginebra.

"He's big, and tall, and wide," Joe Devance said.

"We'll see what we have to do, we'll see our adjustments. Just with the whole TNT, there's really no room for mistakes, let alone with the 6'10", [300]-pound import. But we'll figure it it out," he added.

After sending constant double teams to Smith didn't exactly work out in Game 1, Ginebra is hardpressed to figure out a counter for Game 2 or else risk going down 0-2 in a short series.

Another cause of concern for the Gin Kings is Smith's minutes.

Ginebra certainly fared well everytime the former Georgetown Hoya sat on the bench. But that's the problem right there, Smith only played 28 minutes and the TNT coaching staff has made it known in the past that they've been managing his playing time.

Who knows what happens when the KaTropa decides to fully unleash their beast of an import.

"We gotta get hold of Smith better. He's not playing his minutes, but when he's in there, he's pretty much unstoppable," Brownlee said.

Looking to bounce back, Ginebra might have a secret weapon at its disposal with the recently-activated Greg Slaughter.

But with the 7-foot, former no. 1 overall pick still working his way from injury, there's no definite schedule on when head coach Tim Cone will finally field his towering center.

"Shoulda, coulda, woulda," said Japeth Aguilar. "Pero ito na yung nabigay sa amin so we have to work on it talaga."

 


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