TOP seed Barangay Ginebra battles no. 8 Alaska Aces today in a do-or-die duel for a semifinals slot in the 39th Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) Philippine Cup at the Cuneta Astrodome in Pasay City.
Despite suffering a 97-104, setback in their opening quarterfinals match on Wednesday, Ginebra, carrying a twice-to-beat advantage, remain the heavy favorite in the lone game set at 3:30 p.m.
The winner in the Ginebra-Alaska match will face the victor between San Mig Coffee and Talk ‘N Text in the best-of-seven semifinals series starting Monday. The Coffee Mixers, enjoying a 1-0 lead, and the reigning champions Tropang Texters were still playing in Game 2 at press time.
“I don’t want to feel satisfied, it’s just one game. Our back-to-back games last Sunday and Monday, at least gave us a bit of confidence. At this point in time, it’s now beyond coaching. I hope we can make it again on Saturday. I think our chance over Ginebra is 50-50. Ginebra will come motivated on Saturday,” said Alaska coach Luigi Trillo.
Meanwhile, PBA commissioner Chito Salud slapped Gabby Espinas with a P20,000 fine for a hard foul on Cliff Hodge during their knockout game against Meralco on Monday.
The flagrant foul penalty 1 imposed by the referee was upgraded to flagrant foul penalty 2 after a review of the video of the game showed Espinas elbowing Hodge before hitting him again with his forearm. No suspension was imposed hence Espinas can play today.