Barangay Ginebra San Miguel eyes a fifth consecutive victory when it takes on Alaska today in the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) Season 42 Commissioner’s Cup at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
The Gin Kings, who will play without Japeth Aguilar because of the latter’s commitment to Gilas, aim to improve their present 4-1 win-loss record with a victory over the Aces in their 6:45 p.m. encounter.
Ginebra Grand Slam coach Tim Cone hopes his team will play with consistency both on offense and defense against the dangerous Aces, who will also miss the services of Calvin Abueva.
Like Aguilar, Abueva was pulled out to join Gilas that is set to compete in the Southeast Asian Basketball Association (SEABA) Men’s Championship next week.
“What is keying us offensively is our ball movement. We’ve been very unselfish. Defensively, I like the way the players have worked on their habits this conference. We made a point that we can improve it,” said Cone.
After losing their opening game against Phoenix last April 1 in Davao City, the Gin Kings won four straight games employing tight defense that limited their opponents to below 100 points.
They beat the Star (113-98), GlobalPort (113-96), NLEX (101-92) and TNT KaTropa (107-89).
Import Justin Brownlee, who guided them to last year’s Governor’s Cup title, is averaging 24.6 points, 11 rebounds, 5.6 assists, 2.6 steals and two blocks in the tournament.
Ginebra is running third behind Meralco (7-1) and San Miguel Beer (5-1).
Alaska, on the other hand, tries to end a two-game slide but the Aces have to do it without their energetic forward. Without Abueva, the Aces will rely on import Corey Jefferson to get back on winning track and improve their current 4-2 slate.
Meanwhile, Blackwater tries to ride on the momentum of its 104-98 win over the Road Warriors as they face Mahindra in the opener at 4:30 p.m.
The Elite, tied with the Batang Pier for ninth and 10th spots, are also carrying an identical 2-6 mark. The Floodbuster are No. 11 with 1-7, just a game ahead of winless NLEX (0-8).