Prince Caperal continues to prove worth for Ginebra, impress Cone
Photo by Tristan Tamayo/ INQUIRER.net
Prince Caperal showed he is no fluke.
After having the game of his life on Sunday night, Caperal again played a vital role for Barangay Ginebra in its best-of-seven semifinals series against San Miguel Beer and this time, the Gin Kings won.
“He’s got a high basketball IQ and he’s using it. He’s really listening to what we asked him to do and he’s executing it to perfection,” Ginebra coach said of Caperal.
In Game 2, Caperal introduced himself to the PBA by doing what he’s known for during his college days at Arellano University, hitting perimeter shots on his way to a career-high 26 points on 11-of-18 shooting from the field on top of eight rebounds.
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Game 3, meanwhile, saw Caperal, a floor-spacing big man, stand his ground on defense against the most dominant player in the country today in June Mar Fajardo.
“First game, he was a revelation because of his ability to shoot the ball and pull June Mar away from the basket,” Cone recalled.
“But tonight, I thought it was another revelation, he just stuck his nose on the defensive side. His shots weren’t falling as much but he made it up on the defensive side.”
The 6-foot-6 Caperal scored only 12 points on 5-of-12 shooting from the field and grabbed four rebounds in 33 minutes but his overall impact went beyond his numbers and reflected on Fajardo’s production.
Fajardo, the reigning four-time MVP, dominated with 33 points on 11-of-18 and 19 rebounds in his previous outing. He still came away with 23 points and 16 rebounds in Game 3 but he had to work much harder for his baskets.
“My role as a starter is to defend June Mar and be a physical presence against him and at least make it a little tougher for him,” Caperal, whom Ginebra picked up from the free agent pool early last month, said in Filipino.
“I had mixed emotions last game because I had my breakout game but at the same time we lost. It feels good to win this game. But I’m not doing anything special, I’m just playing my game.”
Most still get surprised whenever Caperal makes a good play, but not Cone and the rest of the Gin Kings.
“We knew he was good,” said Cone.
The rest of the league may just have to get used to it.
“Very special two games from him and he’s going to continue to be key in this series,” Cone praised.