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PBA: Ginebra faces Painters

GABBY Espinas and Marc Pingris

Games Today (Smart Araneta)
3 p.m. – Alaska vs Barako Bull
5:15 p.m. – Barangay Ginebra vs Rain or Shine

The earthquake that is expected to the rock the globe with the Manny Pacquiao-Brandon Rios fight this morning will have powerful aftershocks later in the day at the Smart Araneta Coliseum when the two most tectonic-active ballclubs in the Philippine Basketball Association collide.

On the crest of a busy elimination round schedule, league-leading Rain or Shine takes on Barangay Ginebra San Miguel in the PLDT myDSL-PBA Philippine Cup, barely two days after the Elasto Painters subdued the tenacious Meralco Bolts.

Gametime is 5:15 p.m., following the potentially riveting curtain-raiser between Barako Bull and Alaska Milk at 3 p.m.

Rain or Shine is eyeing its third straight win, while Ginebra, rested after running roughshod over San Mig Coffee on opening day, looking for its second consecutive.

Alaska, meanwhile, seeks to follow up on its breakthrough 84-80 win over the Mixers last Friday, while Barako Bull, which dumped the Air21 Express, 88-75, four days ago, hopes to join the early leaders.

The E-Painters kicked off the 39th season by spilling Alaska all over the University of Southeastern Philippines gym in Davao City, 87-74, but were tested to the limits by the Bolts before going away with a 94-89 win on the heroics of Paul Lee and Beau Belga.

On the other hand, the Kings, fortified during the off-season by the return of 6-foot-10 Japeth Aguilar from a minor knee injury and the drafting with the No. 1 pick of 7-footer Greg Slaughter, crushed San Mig, 86-69, and could gauge their optimum potential this conference by the way they’ll stand up against the extremely aggressive E-Painters.

With its Twin Towers planted in the middle and swatting away shots that get past their perimeter defense, the Kings could do a lot of matchup zones to put pressure on the E-Painters’ outside shooters, specifically Jeff Chan, who had 4 triples against the Aces and 3 on the Bolts, perhaps his best start in a long while.

The Alaska-Barako Bull tussle could equally be exciting, primarily due to the presence of the ultra-assertive Aces sophomore and the Energy Cola’s heavy-handed frontline, led by Dorian Pena, Mick Pennisi and Willy Wilson who would love to have Abueva, Cyrus Baguio or Jayvee Casio on the fly and straying into their webbed territory. (Tito S. Talao)