Barangay Ginebra will be gunning for a fourth win when it faces Blackwater while Meralco aims to halt a two-game losing skid when it meets Rain or Shine today in the resumption of Philippine Basketball Association Season 41 Governors’ Cup at the Araneta Coliseum.
The No.3 Gin Kings, who are enjoying a 3-1 win-loss record, will battle the Elite in the second game at 7:00 p.m., while the Bolts of coach Norman Black will take on the Elasto Painters of coach Yeng Guiao in the first game at 4:15 p.m.
Led by import Justine Brownlee, Barangay Ginebra scored a back-to-back win before the All-Star Week over Northern Luzon Expressway (NLEX) and erstwhile leader Meralco.
Brownlee, who replaced the injured Paul Harris, posted 26 points plus six assists in Lucena City on July 30 to power a 107-93 win against the Bolts. He finished with 24 points, 15 rebounds and four assists in Ginebra’s 85-72 win over the Road Warriors on July 27.
Besides Brownlee, Ginebra coach Tim Cone will also be relying on the skills of LA Tenorio, Japeth Aguilar, rookie Earl Scottie Thompson, Solomon Mercado, Dave Marcelo, Joe Devance, Chris Ellis, Mark Caguioa and Jay-Jay Helterbrand, in their hunt for a third straight win.
Blackwater, with a 1-2 win-loss record, is keen to bounce back from a 92-98 loss to Rain or Shine. The Elite’s lone win came at the expense of the Star Hotshots (100-98).
The Elite will be banking on imports Eric Dawson and Imad Qawash as well as Carlo Lastimosa, center JP Erram, Reil Cervantes, Arthur Dela Cruz, Mike Cortez, James Sena, Bambam Gamalinda and Jerick Canada.
Dawson finished with a low output of 14 points, 25 rebounds, six assists and five blocks in the last game of his team against the Elasto Painters.
Meralco, meanwhile, is expecting a better performance from import Allen Durham when it faces Rain or Shine in order to snap a two-game losing streak. The Bolts, after suffering a back-to-back loss before the All-Star break, hold a 2-2 win-loss record.
“Our focus is to find a way to break our two-game skid,” Black told The Manila Times in a text message. “We need an aggressive game from Allen Durham who is now moving better in practice after suffering a broken nose.”
Besides Durham, the Bolts will be relying on veteran Jimmy Alapag, rookies Chris Newsome and Baser Amer, Jared Dillinger, Cliff Hodge, Bryan Faundo, Reynel Hugnatan, Jonathan Uyloan and Anjo Caram.
“We must bring our A-Game on defense to slow down their high power offense,” added Black.
The Elasto Painters are out for a third win.
Guiao is worried that his players might play sluggish because of the long All-Star break. Rain or Shine is holding a 2-1 win-loss record.
“I’m just worried about the mindset of my players because of the recent All-Star but I believe they can play aggressively because they performed well in the All-Star,” Guiao said in a phone interview. “I’m expecting Meralco to play very well because they’re coming from two losses.”
“I’m also hoping their import (Durham) still wears a protected mask. We are going to take advantage of that.”
Rain or Shine will lean on import Dior Lowhorn, shooter Jeff Chan, Gabe Norwood, Beau Belga, Jericho Cruz, Jay-R Quinahan, Jewel Ponferada, Raymond Almazan and Paul Lee.