LEADING THE KINGS TO FINAL PLAYOFF PUSH
A POPULAR adage goes that one cannot underestimate the heart of champion. That also goes true for a Most Valuable Player.
Mark Caguioa came through with the points that mattered in the clutch for Barangay Ginebra San Miguel in a very important win to earn for himself the Accel-PBA Press Corps Player of the Week honors for the period Nov. 12 to 18.
The second straight such citation for the reigning MVP is a well-deserved one after leading the Kings to a 96-93 thriller of a victory over Alaska last Sunday that was the perennial crowd favorites’ third straight in the Philippine Cup.
In that game, Caguioa shook off some shooting woes to scatter 13 of his game-high 24 points in the final quarter, including Ginebra’s last three that ultimately spelled the difference.
“Iyung puso niya sa laro, iyun ang pinaka-asset niya,” said Kings coach Siot Tanquingcen of Caguioa the day after the match. “How he played last night, both on offense and defense at the end of the game, talagang masasabi mong he willed us to win.”
For Caguioa, who turned 33 Monday, it’s all about team effort.
“Everyone on the team is getting involved and we have more flow in our offense,” said Caguioa.
“The most important thing is, the guys are learning their roles. And coach Siot is doing a great job telling guys where they should be and what they should be doing so it makes it easier for everyone.”
It is still undeniable it was Caguioa who took charge the most when Ginebra needed to break out of a very tight game that ultimately wound up with 14 deadlocks and as many lead changes.
The Kings even stared at a 72-80 deficit early in the fourth before Caguioa went on his tear, with ample help from Willy Wilson, LA Tenorio, Chris Ellis and Billy Mamaril, and finally turned the tide in their favor.
The victory improved Ginebra’s win-loss record to an even 5-5 that put it at fifth-running spot.
With just four matches remaining in the 14-game eliminations, the Kings seem well on their way to nailing a top-tier slot among the eight teams advancing to the playoffs.
It is a certainty Caguioa will see to that. (NC)
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