Games Friday(Smart Araneta Coliseum)3 p.m. — NLEX vs Terrafirma5:45 p.m. — Ginebra vs Blackwater
BARANGAY Ginebra looks to stay on its winning path and make skidding Blackwater its fourth victim in a row as it resumes its PBA Commissioner’s Cup campaign today at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
The Gin Kings came off an epic 97-96 fightback win over San Miguel Beer (SMB) last Nov. 6, which coach Tim Cone hopes his charges use as inspiration to work harder, not a reason to get complacent when they go up against the hungry Bossing.
“It’s going to be a hard one not to be too high from because you know, it’s the comeback, the NSD, the whole shebang and we have to be careful with that,” said Mr. Cone after the crowd darlings bravely wiped out a 19-point deficit and stole the victory from the Beermen on Scottie Thompson’s booming triple.
But as long as they come in with the proper mindset, Mr. Cone said the fourth-running Gin Kings (5-2) should be fine in the 5:45 p.m. tussle with the playoffs-chasing Bossing (3-7).
“As long as we stay locked in, as long as the guys come to practice and work, they can keep the momentum going. It’s when you get kampante and you relax, that’s when you lose your momentum,” he said.
Ginebra is playing its first game after a 12-day break brought about by the Gilas Pilipinas stints of Mr. Cone and stalwarts Mr. Thompson, Japeth Aguilar and Jamie Malonzo in the fifth window of the FIBA World Cup Qualifiers in Jordan and Saudi Arabia.
Mr. Cone is confident deputy Richard del Rosario and the rest of the team put in great practices and preparation while they were away.
On a four-game slide, the Bossing are raring to pounce on this opportunity to regain traction in the heated chase for post-elims berths.
Carrying the same objective as Blackwater is NLEX (3-6), which guns for its fourth W versus Terrafirma (0-9) at 3 p.m.
The 11th-running Road Warriors seek to end their four-match losing spell and go within striking distance of the teams in the lower rungs of the Magic 8 — No. 7 Meralco (4-5) and No. 8 TNT (4-5) — and draw level with No. 9 Rain or Shine (4-6) ahead of No. 10 SMB (3-5).
Though already out of contention for the quarters, the Dyip are fueled by a burning desire to snap a dubious 25-game skid dating back to February. The Dyip came close to ending this futility in their last game against NorthPort, where they led by 15 and held a three-point upperhand with five minutes to go only to fade to a 91-85 heartbreaker. — Olmin Leyba