Last conference finalists San Miguel Beer and TNT KaTropa renew their rivalry as they clash in the main game of the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) Season 42 Governors’ Cup on Wednesday at the Araneta Coliseum.
The grandslam-seeking Beermen and Commissioner’s Cup runner-up KaTropa meet at 7 p.m., their first meeting since San Miguel won the mid-season conference in six games.
In the opener, Barangay Ginebra San Miguel and Kia face off at 4:15 p.m.
The Beermen try to follow up to their 118-93 win over Blackwater behind the solid performances from import Wendell McKines, reigning Most Valuable Player (MVP) June Mar Fajardo, Arwind Santos and Marcio.
San Miguel head coach Leo Austria knows TNT is eager to beat them in their encounter.
“Ever since, TNT is a powerhouse team. And what I saw from them in their last game, they are here to win. That’s why we’re preparing hard also,” said Austria.
“They (TNT) know that we’re the team to beat and at the same time they really want to get back on us after we beat them 4-2 in the finals last conference,” he added.
McKines scored 19 points, 12 rebounds and five assists in his first game against the Elite, and he is expected have his hands full against his TNT’s versatile import Michael Craig.
Craig debuted in style last Friday, tallying a triple-double of 21 points, 13 rebounds and 12 assists in their 106-96 win over Kia.
Meanwhile, the Gin Kings eye their second straight win against the winless Picanto.
Ginebra downed GlobalPort, 124-108, to notch its first win, and bounce back from a 78-93 opening-game loss to Meralco.
Comebacking Greg Slaughter is providing solid support for import Justin Brownlee in Gin Kings’ first two games. The seven-foot center, who missed the first two conferences due to an ACL injury, is averaging 16.5 points, 11 rebounds and 2.5 blocks in two games.
Kia, on the other hand, has yet to strike a W on its standing and assistant mentor Chris Gavina hopes they can play their best against Ginebra.
“One of my players wears a baller ID that says “nothing is impossible” and I am a true believer in that, and that’s how I’ve been able to achieve great things in my life and I’m hoping that my team will commit to that frame of mind tomorrow (today) against Ginebra,” said Gavina.
Meanwhile, Blackwater is tapping former Alaska and NLEX import Henry Walker after Trevis Simpson suffered a groin injury.