Solo leader Ginebra takes on Barako Bull

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GLOBALPORT and Alaska Aces, two teams in the verge of early exit will dispute the eight spot when they collide tonight while Ginebra will stake its hold of solo lead when it battles Barako Bull in the 39th Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) Philippine Cup elimination round at the Araneta Coliseum.

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And with only two games left in their elimination round assignment, the winner between Batang Pier and the Aces in the 3 p.m. game today will have a big edge of taking the 8th and last quarterfinals slot because both survived tougher opponents in their last matches.

Only the top eight teams will advance into the next round with the no. 1 and no.2 teams carrying a twice-to-beat advantage into the quarterfinals pairings. The no. 9 and no. 10 squads will bow out of contention.

In the second game at 5:15 p.m., Ginebra, which is bearing a 9-2 card, is expected to have an easy sailing over Barako Bull Energy Cola (5-7), whom they crushed 85-79, in their first meeting on December 13.

Coach Richie Ticzon’s Batang Pier, carrying a 4-8 win-loss slate, will be facing Ginebra in their final game on January 17 while the Aces of coach Luigi Trillo, also with a 4-8 slate, takes on Barako Bull on January 19.

Thus both the Aces and Batang Pier are expected to go for broke in their respective penultimate games that would determine who would join Air 21 Express (3-9) in the exit door. The Air 21 Express were still playing against San Mig Coffee (4-7) at presstime.

Meanwhile, after 25 years as team manager of Alaska Aces, Joaqui Trillo retired with at least 14 conference titles to his credit.

He was part of the PBA television panel before joining Alaska in the mid 1980s overseeing the day-to-day operations of the squad. “It’s more of a hobby for me,” said Trillo, himself a former La Salle basketball star in the 1970s, helping the Green Archers to win a title in the National Collegiate Athletic Association.
Frank Calapre

Team Standings       W     L
Ginebra                           9      2
Petron                              9      3
Rain or Shine                 8      3
Talk ‘N Text                    7      4
Barako Bull                    5      7
Meralco                          5      7
San Mig                          4      7
Alaska                             4      8
Globalport                     4      8
Air 21                              3      9

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