Marcelo ready to step up sans Slaughter in conference opener

With starting center Greg Slaughter still recovering from measles, backup big man Dave Marcelo hopes to make the most of the playing time he’ll be given as Barangay Ginebra kicks off its PBA Commissioner’s Cup campaign against NLEX in Friday’s main game at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

The undersized Ginebra forward admitted the task of defending NLEX’s ageless big man Asi Taulava is already a huge challenge in itself. But the four-year pro vowed to give his all as he plays the supporting role to Japeth Aguilar.

“It’s a big challenge for me (to defend) Asi. Kasi Asi Taulava pa rin iyun,” Marcelo told FOX Sports on Thursday after the team’s practice.

Read: Ginebra’s Greg Slaughter to miss Commissioner’s Cup opener

“Pero dapat kapag sa mga ganyang big games, for me, di na ako matatakot sa ganyan. Dapat 100 percent effort,” he added.

Marcelo, who only played an average of 7.5 minutes per contest in the Philippine Cup, admitted that the spot vacated by the 6-foot-11 Slaughter is hard to fill.

However, the former San Beda big man believes the Kings are a much better team this time due to the chemistry Ginebra has developed after playing and learning from coach Tim Cone the past conference.

Cone has already tasked the 6-foot-9 Aguilar to play the role of import-stopper, giving him the unenviable task of shadowing NLEX’s sweet-shooting import Al Thornton.

Read: Ginebra big Japeth Aguilar ready to be import-stopper

But Marcelo said Ginebra’s import Othyus Jeffers is also a solid perimeter defender and a great team player.

“More on defense talaga siya (Jeffers) at role player siya talaga. Gusto niya pass the ball lagi, ayaw niya na siya lang ang ii-score. Saka ngayon nakaka-catch up na siya sa amin at umaayos na yung laro niya,” he added.

Other than Taulava, the 6-foot-8 Thornton is expected to serve as a thorn on Ginebra’s side because of his ability to score inside and from the outside.

Read: A second chance: Othyus Jeffers raring to win title for Ginebra

Thornton, the Los Angeles Clippers’ 14th overall pick in the 2007 NBA Draft averaged 30.8 points, 12.4 rebounds, 1.6 assists and 1.0 block in over 42 minutes of play with NLEX last season.

The former Florida State standout actually dropped 50 points in NLEX’s 96-90 win over Barangay Ginebra in Antipolo last year. – By Richard Dy