SMB, Mahindra eye solo lead

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San Miguel Beer’s Junmar Fajardo drives battles for the ball against Mick Pennisi of Phoenix during a PBA Governors Cup game at the Araneta Coliseum. PHOTO BY BOB DUNGO JR.

San Miguel Beer’s Junmar Fajardo drives battles for the ball against Mick Pennisi of Phoenix during a PBA Governors Cup game at the Araneta Coliseum. PHOTO BY BOB DUNGO JR.

Defending champion San Miguel Beer and Mahindra will be aiming for the solo top spot when they clash in the first game at 4:15 p.m. while Barangay Ginebra meets Northern Luzon Expressway (NLEX) in the 7:15 p.m. game on Wednesday in the Philippine Basketball Association Season 41 Governors’ Cup at the Araneta Coliseum.

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Mahindra and San Miguel Beer, with identical 2-0 win-loss records, are sharing the top spot.

“We have a big challenge ahead tomorrow going up defending champion San Miguel Beer. We all know the type of firepower that San Miguel Beer possesses and we need a collective effort and a willingness to outwork San Miguel Beer,” Mahindra’s coach Chris Gavina said.

The Enforcers will rely on 23-year-old import James White, who finished with 28 points, 20 rebounds and four blocks in their win against GlobalPort.

Besides White, playmaker LA Revilla, Aldrech Ramos, Mark Yee, Bradwyn Guinto, Paolo Taha, Keith Agovida, Nino Canaleta, Nards Pinto, center Jason Ballesteros and Asian import Iman Mashaddy Zandi are also expected to step up for the Enforcers.

“Our defensive discipline and activity will dictate our offense, if we can force them into tough shots and control the rebounding war then it will put us in a position to play our brand of basketball,” added Gavina.

Fresh from a slim 94-93 victory over NLEX on Friday, San Miguel Beer will bank anew on the prowess of import Arizona Reid, Marcio Lassiter, Alex Cabagnot, center June Mar Fajardo, Brian Huruela, Gary David, Chris Ross, Roland Tubid and Jay-R Reyes to extend the Beermen’s win streak to three.

Meanwhile, the NLEX Road Warriors will try to bounce back from previous defeat when they face the Barangay Ginebra Gin Kings. Import Henry Bill Walker, the team’s prolific scorer, is expected to lead the Road Warriors against the formidable Barangay Ginebra with support from AKL Rodrigue, veteran Paul Asi Taulava, Kevin Alas, Garvo Lanete, Jonas Villanueva and Sean Anthony.

“Tough game for us, Ginebra is been playing well and with their new import, they already had an answer in their weakness at the post without Greg [Slaughter]. But we’ll be ready. It will be crucial for us and our defense is needed if we want to bounce from our last game,” said NLEX coach Boyet Fernandez.

Ginebra’s new import Justin Brownlee, who replaced the injured Paul Harris is expected to shine when the Gin Kings take on the Road Warriors. Also gearing up for battle are Solomon Mercado, Japeth Aguilar, Chris Ellis, LA Tenorio and Mark Caguioa.

The Road Warriors and the Gin Kings each has a 1-1 win-loss record.

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