BLACKWATER eyes a bounce-back from a loss to Barangay Ginebra while NLEX looks to get over the hump as they clash in the 4 p.m. opener of a twinbill ending Week One of the PBA Philippine Cup bubble play at the AUF Gym (powered by Smart 5G) in Angeles City.
The Elite bowed to the Gin Kings (99-103) that drew a big lift from an unlikely source in Prince Caperal with 24 points on top of six rebounds and three assists.
Less than 48 hours from that setback, Mac Belo and his teammates return to the floor, bracing for a tough showdown versus an NLEX side aching to climb out of a 0-2 hole.
The Road Warriors dropped their bubble debut against the Gin Kings, 92-102, then suffered an even more painful defeat to the Magnolia Hotshots, 100-103, where they squandered a 22-point spread.
Kiefer Ravena and company are now in dire need to check their slump or they would be in a tougher bind that could be very hard to spring out of in a short one-round-robin elims.
Their Wednesday game against the Hotshots was a real heartbreaker. The question is how would the Road Warriors respond moving forward.
Blackwater was solid versus NorthPort on Monday, gifting Nash Racela a 96-89 win in his return to head-coaching business.
Against the Kings, the Elite also showed fine stuff that was most evident in their third-quarter surge to seize control heading to the payoff period.
But the Kings stood their ground and proved steadier at the finish, denying their rivals a 0-2 start under a new coach.
No. 2 draft pick Maurice Shaw rode the bench in their second game after playing miniscule minutes in their initial outing.
Racela had said the 35-year-old rookie is not yet in shape. (SB)