• Gin Kings eye share of Governors’ Cup lead

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    Barangay Ginebra San Miguel tries to join Meralco at top with a win against the skidding Phoenix in the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) Season 42 Governors’ Cup on Wednesday at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City.

    The Gin Kings, who are holding a 4-1 win-loss record, gun for their fifth straight victory against the Fuel Masters in the main game at 7 p.m. while the streaking Blackwater collides with TNT KaTropa in the opener at 4L15 p.m.

    Ginebra head coach Tim Cone expects a tough game against Phoenix, which dropped its last six assignments after a promising 2-0 start.

    “We have had a little success with Phoenix over the last couple of conferences, and they’ve done a great job of improving their talent through the year with key trades. Despite their record, they seem to be a team on the rise,” said Cone.

    “We want to keep our momentum, so it is a big game for us. Including our Cebu game, we basically have five games in two weeks, so this is an important stretch for us,” he added.

    The Gin Kings are coming off a 94-80 win over Alaska in Cebu City. They will be led by import Justin Brownlee, who is averaging 20.8 points and 10.2 rebounds in the tournament.

    Aside from Brownlee, Cone will also bank on Joe Devance, Japeth Aguilar and Greg Slaughter as they zero in for a spot in the top four in the quarterfinals.

    The Fuel Masters need to start winning as a loss will put their campaign in the balance as the bottom four teams will be eliminated after a single-round elimination.

    They are currently at No. 10 spot.

    “We are keeping faith in these tough times. This will make us stronger and bond together. We have to come out swinging,” said Phoenix coach Ariel Vanguardia.

    Brandon Brown has been posting impressive stats for the Fuel Masters, averaging 40 points and 17 rebounds but local support is lacking in their current skid.

    In the opener, the Elite shoot for their fourth straight win against powerhouse KaTropa, the franchise they have not beaten since entering the league three years ago.

    “So many things are at stake in this game. A first ever four-game win streak for our franchise and a first ever win over TNT since we joined the PBA,” said Blackwater coach eo Isaac, whose team holding an even 3-3 slate.

    The Elite are coming off a 111-106 double overtime win over Alaska. Henry Walker has been at the forefront of their surge, averaging 32 points and 20.6 rebounds in that three-game winning stretch.

    TNT coach Nash Racela admitted Blackwater is playing its best basketball as of the moment and the Elite are a force to reckon with in the conference.

    KaTropa are holding a 3-2 mark and are coming off a 111-103 victory over Phoenix.

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