September 15, 2017

Kings eager to bounce back but E-Painters just as determined to win

Tournament frontrunner Barangay Ginebra takes its second crack at a twice-to-beat incentive in the quarterfinals as it tangles with one of its Top Four race rivals - Rain or Shine - in a PBA Governors Cup Petron Blaze Saturday Special at the MOA Arena in Pasay City.

Tip off is at 5:15 p.m.

Stopped by the San Miguel Beermen the last time out, the Gin Kings (7-2) hope to recover right away and not let the chasing pack close in on them.

At 5-3, the Elasto Painters are among the pursuers, determined to salvage a Top Four spot for the crucial win-once incentive in the quarterfinals.

"After the beat down that SMB gave us, needless to say, this is an important bounce back game for us," said Ginebra coach Tim Cone.

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"Hopefully that was a wakeup call for us. We really need to re-establish our discipline towards our defense and the tempo in which we play," Cone added. "We lost that against SMB and need to recover it in time for the playoffs."

ROS coach Caloy Garcia is not looking far ahead, keeping his focus on Ginebra.

"We still have a chance (for the Top Four), but I'm thinking of Barangay Ginebra first," said Garcia.

"Ginebra is one of the best teams in the league and they're the defending champions. Coming off a loss (to San Miguel), coach Tim (Cone) is likely to make the adjustments and push his players hard," Garcia added.

The ROS bench chieftain said Raymond Almazan and his other frontline players have their job cut out for them against Greg Slaughter, Japeth Aguilar and Joe Devance.

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In a win over Phoenix Fuel in their last game, Garcia lauded Almazan for asserting himself and thus proving to be a big key as the E-Painters caught up with the Beermen at 5-3, still within reach of the frontrunners.

Almazan dished out another big game in his return from his Gilas stint, coming through with 25 points, including emphatic jams, a three-pointer and couples of baskets from his eight offensive rebounds.

The 6-foot-7 center finished with 11 boards plus three blocks in 30 minutes of action.

But he might need to work extra hard to keep up with Slaughter and Aguilar.