August 01, 2017

Ginebra eyes second win against struggling Kia

GINEBRA steadied itself quite nicely following a jerky start in the PBA Governors Cup.

Kings coach Tim Cone, however, knows the road ahead remains littered with huge stumbling blocks which could derail their title-retention bid in the season-ending tourney.

"We're gonna have tougher games coming up," said Cone, specifically referring to Kia, which his Ginebra crew must hurdle Wednesday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

The Kings are looking to follow up their 124-108 drubbing of GlobalPort last Sunday which atoned for the former's 78-93 loss to Meralco a week before.

The big win admittedly came as a bit of a surprise for Cone, who said his team just wants "to temper its expectations."

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For sure, Ginebra should be expecting a tough stance from Kia, which is projected to do everything in order to try and right its own ship.

The Picanto have dropped their first three games to Phoenix, surprising NLEX and pre-tournament favorite TNT, but have shown grit in each of those contests.

They even severely threatened the KaTropa last Friday, trimming a 17-point deficit to just five inside the last four minutes before fading for good and absorbing a 96-106 defeat.

Understandably, Kia chief shotcaller Chris Gavina was not satisfied with his charges' endgame collapse and vowed to field only players who display toughness.

“I can't have guys who I believe are supposed to finish out a game give up," said Gavina after the TNT game.

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“From here on in, the guys who are showing me fight will play,"added Gavina. “I don’t care if they play 40 minutes. That’s who we’ll be playing because that’s the only way we’re going to win – play team defense and play with a pure desire as if this is everybody’s last game.”

Such all-out effort is surely needed if Kia wants to realize that breakthrough win against a Ginebra squad that boasts of a triple tower combo in Greg Slaughter, Japeth Aguilar and Joe Devance and a lethal backcourt duo of Justin Brownlee and LA Tenorio.

Kia's hopes chiefly rests on the shoulders of Markeith Cummings, LA Revilla, Reden Celda, and Glenn Khobuntin while the likes of Nico Elorde, Eric Camson and Nico Salva should be ready to step in.