• Gin Kings eye solo second, Painters seek quarters

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    Barangay Ginebra San Miguel guns for the solo second spot while Rain or Shine eyes a quarterfinals seat as the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) Commissioner’s Cup travels to Alonte Gym in Biñan, Laguna today.

    Currently tied with San Miguel Beer at 6-2, the Gin Kings battle Blackwater in the main game at 7 p.m. while the Elasto Painters, holding a 5-4 win-loss slate, try to clinch their spot in the next round with a win against GlobalPort in the opener at 4:15 p.m.

    Justin Brownlee of Ginebra attempts a tricky shot against Junmar Fajardo of San Miguel Beer during a PBA Commissioner’s Cup game at the Mall of Asia Arena. PHOTO BY RUSSELL PALMA

    Ginebra is coming off an impressive 107-99 win over the Beermen that put them back in the race for the top two spots and the bonus in the quarterfinals stage.

    Gin Kings head coach Tim Cone will bank on import Justin Brownlee, who is averaging 29 points, 11.1 rebounds and 5.3 assists in the tournament.

    “Justin (Brownlee) gives us a lot of confidence in this conference,” said Cone, who will also bank on Japeth Aguilar, LA Tenorio, Mark Caguioa and Chris Ellis as they search for their seventh win.

    Cone added that their last three assignments would be a tough match up for Brownlee as the latter will be pitted against taller imports.

    “We’re going to battle Blackwater and Meralco then Mahindra. The first two, Blackwater and Meralco, have two huge imports who play center,” said Cone. “Let’s see how we perform against those imports. We are preparing first against Blackwater. The other one (Mahindra) is playing power forward or small forward.”

    The Elite have Greg Smith, who has been a candidate for naturalization for Gilas Pilipinas. After Smith, Brownlee will face off with Bolts’ Alex Stepheson and Floodbuster’s Keith White.

    Smith and Stepheson are both standing 6’10.

    Blackwater, at 2-7, is fighting for survival and a loss would mean kissing this conference good bye.

    In the opener, Rain or Shine tries to make a follow up to its 118-112 win over Ginebra with Duke Crews posting 28 points and 22 rebounds.

    “We are trying to improve our team game,” said Rain or Shine coach Caloy Garcia. “GlobalPort looks a lot better after getting new players. They have a team that can really score. We just have to find ways to limit their scoring. We have to focus more on the game and play good defense.”

    The Batang Pier (3-6) are within striking distance for the last quarterfinals seat but the wards of head coach Franz Pumaren need to sweep their last two assignments to stay in the race for the No. 8 spot.

    GlobalPort’s new import Justin Harper, who replaced Malcolm White, had 30 points and nine rebounds in their 94-86 win over Meralco.

    Batang Pier’s new recruits, Sean Anthony, who had 18 markers against the Bolts, Bradwyn Guinto and Jonathan Grey also played big for GlobalPort the last time out.

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