Gin Kings seek quarterfinals bonus vs Elite

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Justin Brownlee of Ginebra drives on Junmar Fajardo of San Miguel Beer during the 2017 PBA Commissioners’ Cup at the Mall of Asia Arena.
PHOTO BY RUSSELL PALMA

Barangay Ginebra San Miguel tries to clinch the incentive in the quarterfinals stage as it eyes its seventh straight win against Blackwater in the main game of the Philippine Basketball Association Season (PBA) 42 Governors’ Cup today at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City.

The defending champion Gin Kings, currently leading the standings with a 6-1 win-loss record, face the Elite (4-4) at 7 p.m. right after the opening tussle between Alaska (1-6) and GlobalPort (3-4) at 4:15 p.m.

Ginebra head coach Tim Cone warns his players not to underestimate Blackwater, the team that they got involved with in a four-player trade last week.

“Dave (Marcelo) and Chris (Ellis) are both fighters and they will help them a lot. Blackwater is playing spectacular basketball and their import Henry Walker is awesome so far, and we can’t look past Blackwater,” said Ginebra coach Tim Cone.


“We also have a tough weekend after Blackwater because all of us are battling for that all-important top four spot, so this weekend is crucial,” added Cone, whose team is bracing for a tough three-game stretch after this one.

The Gin Kings have San Miguel Beer, Rain or Shine and TNT KaTropa left in their schedule.

Import Justin Brownlee is averaging 23 points, 11.1 rebounds, five assists and 1.7 steals, while the comebacking 7-footer Greg Slaughter is averaging 14.8 points, 10.4 rebounds and two blocks for the Gin Kings, who are coming from a 105-101 overtime win against Star last Sunday.

Ellis will miss the match due to sickness, leaving Marcelo the only ex-Ginebra player to meet his old team tonight. The Gin Kings got the injured Art dela Cruz Jr. and Raymond Aguilar in that deal.

The Elite are currently holding the precarious eighth spot with 4-4 slate and they need to win two more games to secure a slot in the next round. They are coming off a 118-97 win over Kia last week.

“Again, we will play to our very best to get a win and improve our chance of going into the playoffs,” said Blackwater coach Leo Isaac.

The Elite will bank on Walker, who is averaging 30.8 points and 18.2 rebounds in five games.

Meanwhile, Batang Pier try to get back on the winning track as they battle the Aces.

GlobalPort lost its last game to NLEX, 99-109, to drop to 3-4.

Alaska, on the other hand, finally snapped a 14-game losing streak that started last conference with a 90-79 victory over the Beermen to keep its quarterfinals hopes alive with a 1-6 mark.

Meanwhile, San Miguel made another import change as the grand slam-seeking Beermen dropped the ineffective Terik Bridgeman for Terrence Watson. Bridgeman averaged just three points and five rebounds in two games with San Miguel.

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