Denied last time, Barangay Ginebra San Miguel tries to formalize its entry into the quarterfinals with a win against sister team San Miguel Beer in the main game of the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) Commissioner’s Cup tonight at the Mall of Asia Arena.
The Kings try to recover from a tough loss to Rain or Shine where they blew double-digit lead and saw their five-game winning streak snapped by the Elasto Painters.
Ginebra head coach Tim Cone knows that they can’t play the same way in their 6:45 p.m. encounter with the Beermen. In the opener, Phoenix (4-5) also tries to fan its quarterfinals slot chances with a win against the beleaguered Mahindra (2-7) at 4:30 p.m.
The Kings were in full control of their match against Rain or Shine but could not stop the latter’s rally to surrender a 118-112 decision that delayed their entry into the quarterfinals stage.
“We had 14-point lead in the first half and then a 16-point lead in the second half and still managed to lose the game. We played some good stretches, but couldn’t put a complete game together,” said Cone.
“Against San Miguel, we’ll need to play great the whole game to have a chance to beat them. We’ll need to be a whole better defensively than we were last night,” he added.
Ginebra slid to 5-2 (win-loss) after the defeat and Cone knows they can’t afford to drop more games if they want to secure the twice-to-beat advantage in the quarterfinals stage.
The Beermen almost fell to the same trap in their previous match as the wards of head coach Leo Austria had to withstand the late run of NLEX before securing a 114-108 victory to improve their mark to 6-1.
San Miguel rode on the broad shoulders of import Charles Rhodes, who erupted for 37 points, 19 rebounds and three blocks, to knock off the winless Road Warriors.
A win by the Beermen will put them in the solo top spot and move closer to snatching the incentive.
Meanwhile, the Fuel Masters of head coach Ariel Vanguardia are in a precarious spot at No. 8 and need to beat the Floodbuster, who are fighting for their survival.
Phoenix, which is coming off a 16-day break, beat GlobalPort, 84-72, before the league took a break to give way for the country’s hosting of the 2017 Southeast Asia Basketball Association Championship.
Jameel McKay and new recruit RJ Jazul stepped up big against the Batang Pier to put the Fuel Masters in a good position to advance to the next round.
For Mahindra, it needs to sweep its last two games, including this one, and hopes that Alaska and Phoenix won’t reach five wins to figure in a playoff for the last quarterfinals seat.