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MANILA, Philippines – Tony Bishop did a double take when he learned Barangay Ginebra wanted his services.
After all, Bishop least expected the Gin Kings to sign him after he and his former team Meralco lost to Ginebra for the 2021 PBA Governors’ Cup crown.
But the 6-foot-8 import is glad to be on the Gin Kings’ side as he steered Ginebra to a triumphant season debut, starring in 100-86 win over Converge in the Commissioner’s Cup on Friday, November 17.
“I was surprised. When I got the phone call from my agent, I was like, ‘Who’s calling me right now?’ I didn’t know the situation, I didn’t know what had happened,” said Bishop.
“But once I learned about everything, I was happy. For sure, I want play with those guys.”
Ginebra listed resident import Justin Brownlee in its initial Commissioner’s Cup roster, but the team needed to make a change after he failed a doping test following Gilas Pilipinas’ title romp in the Asian Games in October.
Enter Bishop, whom head coach Tim Cone believes will be a great fit owing to the Gin Kings’ familiarity with his style of play and demeanor.
Bishop did not disappoint as he delivered the goods in his Ginebra debut, churning out a team-high 34 points on top of 12 rebounds, 3 steals, and 2 blocks.
Donning the Gin Kings’ jersey, though, proved to be a bit of an odd experience for Bishop.
“It’s a little bit weird. Because when you battled against somebody in the finals, you really want to get that win. A lot of high tensions going up against guys in the playoffs,” he said.
“But being on this side, I got so much respect for everybody on this team. Now that I’m here, I get to see the other side, how great these guys are … and how much love they have for each other. I’m glad to be here.”
With his first win with his new team already in the bag, Bishop will have his mettle tested as Ginebra battles rival Magnolia in another edition of the Clasico on Sunday, November 19, at the Araneta Coliseum.
Expect Bishop to come prepared.
“I know it’s not going to be easy, we have to come out and play our game and play aggressive and play together,” he said. – Rappler.com