After a breakout game back in Game Two of the 2018 Philippine Cup semifinals, where he finished with a career-high 26 points, Prince Caperal continued his stellar showings for the Barangay Ginebra San Miguel in Game Three.
The 6-foot-7 slotman was fielded as a starter by coach Tim Cone for the second straight game, and he contributed 12 points on 41.7 percent shooting from the floor along with four rebounds and one assists.
And this time, his output did not go to waste, as the Gin Kings downed the San Miguel Beermen, 95-87, to prevent going down 0-3 in the race-to-four series.
“Nung last game, parang mixed emotions kasi breakout game mo pero, yun nga, talo. This game, it feels good na nanalo din kami so focus na kami sa next game. Nothing special naman eh,” said the 24-year-old.
“Nilalaro ko lang yung dapat kong ilaro. Masarap manalo.”
Moreover, Caperal was responsible for helping the Gin Kings avoid another meltdown. When San Miguel were in the midst an 11-0 rally to knock within three, 80-83, with 6:07 left, he sank a trey as a response and extinguished San Miguel’s fire.
“Paubos na shot clock eh, all bets are off na. Titira ko talaga yun. Lucky, pumasok. Parang big shot yun, it feels good na crucial. Buti na lang talaga pumasok,” recalled Caperal of his shot.
The former Arellano Chief might have displayed his scoring prowess yet again, but what really stood out in his Game Three outing were his efforts in defending San Miguel’s reigning four-time Most Valuable Player June Mar Fajardo.
The 6-foot-10 center still finished with 23 points and 16 rebounds, but Fajardo wasn’t able to get a good feel of the bout early, as Caperal banged bodies with him and forced him to just two points in four shots after the first 12 minutes.
“Ang role ko naman kaya nag-first five ako is to defend June Mar, kahit papaano may bumangga sa kanya. Kahit papaano mahirapan siya,” shared Caperal.
“It was a tremendous defensive game tonight he played with June Mar,” lauded Cone. “He just stuck his nose on the defensive side and did his work.
“He’s gonna continue to be a key to this series as long as Greg [Slaughter] is out.’
With two outings that have earned the respect of his teammates and the fans, Caperal’s confidence has shot up. And he plans to continue to provide the positives in Game Four on Thursday, as they aim to equalize the series.
“Well, the minutes I’m getting, yung confidence ko nandun na. Sana lang tuluy-tuloy yung nilalaro ng team para tuluy-tuloy yung panalo namin hanggang sa championship.”