Big sunday duel

November 02, 2019

BARANGAY Ginebra, on a roll with four straight victories, is bracing for a tough outing today in the PBA Governors’ Cup.

The Gin Kings and the Bolts are so familiar with each other, having met in the finals of the same season-ending conference during the 2016 and 2017 editions, with the former winning on both occasions. However, it was Meralco’s regular import in Allen Durham who was the best import in both occasions too.

That made Cone to be wary of the Bolts they are facing today in their bid to keep their hot streak going and at the same time bolster their Top Two drive.

“We had so many battles with (Allen) Durham. And that Meralco team, it’s going to be another (big) one. And we know that,” said Cone.

Following Talk ‘N Text’s defeat 10 days ago, only two teams are left with hot streaks in the elimination that’s expected to get more intense in the last 10 playing dates.

One of them is Barangay Ginebra, with the other one being NLEX, which dealt the previously undefeated kaTropa a 126-113 spanking last October 25. Both the Gin Kings and the pacesetting NLEX are on a similar four-game winning skein.

The last of that string of victories, however, did not come easy for the Gin Kings who had to walk the tightrope before beating Blackwater, 101-93, last Oct 30.

Now, the league’s most popular ball club is facing another daunting task in the Bolts, who themselves are entering the game riding on back-to-back wins that included 106-97 thumping of Blackwater last Oct 18 and 125-99 rout of San Miguel Beer last Oct 27.

“Now we got Meralco coming up, one of the league leaders and they’ve been playing well, they just blew out San Miguel,” stressed Cone.

“We’re going to have to play a lot, lot better than we played (against Blackwater) on both sides of the court to be able to compete with Meralco,” added Cone.

Meralco has beefed up its roster this season, adding big man Raymund Almazan, Allein Maliksi, and Raymar Jose to the mix. The result is noticeable for the Bolts have become as among the legitimate title contenders this conference.

Meralco and Ginebra are tied for third to fourth places with similar 5-2 cards.

NorthPort, which had also won its last two outings, tries to rev up its own playoff chances, but will have to deal with the Aces who are expected to give their best to stay in contention.

The Batang Pier are currently occupying number 8 at 3-4, hence they need every win they could to boost their own playoff bid. The Aces on the other hand are expected to play with more urgency to avoid getting stranded in the lower portion of the standings.