May 18, 2017

Gin Kings raring to play after long break, eye sixth straight win

The Barangay Ginebra Kings had picked up from where they left off in their return from a previous long break.

They hope to do the same as they come out of an 11-day layoff in taking on Rain or Shine and returning import Duke Crews at the resumption of the PBA Commissioner’s Cup at the Cuneta Astrodome Friday.

Game time is at 7 p.m. with the Gin Kings chasing a sixth straight win while the E-Painters hope to snap a two-game skid with the help of Crews who is taking over from Shawn Taggart.

“It’s been a terrifically long break so we’re apprehensive as to how sharp we’ll be,” said Ginebra coach Tim Cone.

“Plus we’re uncertain of Japeth Aguilar’s availability because he has had no practice with us this week and hence no preparation for what we’re to do against Rain or Shine,” added Cone.

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“We’ll see if we can figure it all out in time for our game. But no doubt, our guys are raring to get back at it.”

Rain or Shine has the same issue with regards Raymond Almazan. Aguilar and Almazan were among PBA stars that served Gilas Pilipinas in its SEABA Championship campaign.

Ginebra (5-1) is pressing a bid for a twice-to-beat incentive in the quarterfinals while ROS (4-4) looks to finally formalize its playoff entry after two failed tries.

After dropping four of their last five outings, the E-Painters decided to recall Crews who has played with the team under coach Yeng Guiao.

At posting time, ROS had yet to officially inform the PBA Commissioner’s Office of the change, though.

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The team management rued that Taggart suddenly lost the energy and intensity in his game.

ROS strung up three straight wins over NLEX (113-105), Mahindra (99-95 in overtime) and Blackwater (95-88) before taking a dive with losses to Meralco, Alaska, San Miguel Beer and Star. In its last five games, the E-Painters posted a lone win over Phoenix.

The Kings could well be a tough nut to crack as they have been doing well with champion import Justin Brownlee.

Brownlee has been his old prolific self in their victories over GlobalPort (113-96), Star (113-98), NLEX (101-92), TNT (107-89) and Alaska (103-102).

Through six games in the mid-season tourney, Brownlee averaged 26.67 points, 11.5 rebounds, 5.67 assists, 2.67 steals and 2.3 blocks.