Kings seek 3rd win vs Painters

SPEAKING of zone defense, it is one area which gave Barangay Ginebra a big headache last Saturday against NorthPort in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup.

No wonder, Gin Kings coach Tim Cone is not exactly relishing the 73-70 win over the previously unbeaten Batang Pier owing to the excruciating zone defense Ginebra had to go through, especially during the final minute of the game.

“The problem with the zone is it really makes you look bad. The zone really bothers us, gave us a hard time finding high percentage shots,” said Cone.

The truth is, because of the Batang Pier’s no-nonsense defense, the Gin Kings had a truly difficult time in the game, and that their second straight win became evident only inside the final minute when Justin Brownlee struck for the play that mattered most.

Brownlee highlighted his 32 big points for the night by sinking a big triple that shattered the 70-all standoff and lifted the Gin Kings to the pulsating win.

“I almost didn’t remember to come in here. I coached poorly. I thought it was a loss. We were turnover prone tonight,” said Cone, whose Gin Kings are gunning for their third straight win in the 7 p.m. main tussle of an interesting double-header at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

Incidentally, Meralco is also giving much premium on defense when it takes on a troubled Phoenix team in the first game at 4:30 p.m.

After a relatively strong showing in the Philippine Cup, the Fuel Masters found themselves in deep trouble this conference, with their forward and playmaker Calvin Abueva out on an indefinite suspension and coach Louie Alas serving two-game suspension.

However, it doesn’t mean the Fuel Masters can now be taken for granted, and Meralco coach Norman Black is fully aware of that.

“It’s important that we stay focused and continue to get better as a team,” said Black. “Despite what’s been happening we still consider Phoenix to be a very dangerous team so we will have to be on top of our game.”

Instead, the Bolts are looking to give their best in both ends of the court against the Fuel Masters who, according to Phoenix team manager Paolo Bugia, will be handled by assistant coach Topex Robinson.

The Fuel Masters will also be backstopped by new import Richard Howell, whom Phoenix has reactivated to replace an injured Rob Dozier.