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PBA: Hotshots face Kings

Games Today (Smart Araneta)
3 p.m. – Blackwater vs Globalport
5:15 p.m. – Purefoods vs Ginebra

Manila, Philippines – Trigonometry 101 class in the PBA Philippine Cup is at 5:15 p.m. today at the Smart Araneta Coliseum, with Professor Tim Cone and his former student Jeff Cariaso lecturing on the relationships involving lengths and angles of the triangle.

Too bad Knicks president Phil Jackson, the Zen Master of the Triple Post Offense, as the triangle offense is known in less geometrical terms, couldn’t make it.

Purefoods Star and Barangay Ginebra San Miguel, the main proponents of the complicated screen-and-cut system run by Jackson when he was still coaching the Bulls and the Lakers in the NBA, clash this afternoon after the 3 p.m. curtainraiser featuring Globalport and winless Blackwater.

Cone perpetuates at Purefoods the system he used with great result when he was still with the Alaska Aces, while Cariaso, who played for Cone, has introduced the same philosophy at Barangay Ginebra upon his appointment as head coach last season.

Alaska maintained the triangle even after Cone left, with Luigi employing the offense in leading the Aces to a championship two years ago. Trillo had since stepped down and his former assistant Alex Compton has taken over and is slowly weaning the team away from the structured system while introducing a more free- flowing brand of play.

The Kings are coming off a 100-91 victory over Blackwater on Tuesday and will be looking to shake off the Meralco Bolts and the San Miguel Beermen from a share of second place on 3-2 slates.

The Grand Slam champion Hotshots (formerly San Mig Super Coffee Mixers), meanwhile, have checked a two-game losing start by turning back Globalport, 85-71, more than a week ago. But at 1-2, only three other teams are wallowing beneath them so this game will be most crucial in their bid to win a fifth straight title.

After winning its fourth consecutive championship and completing the PBA’s fifth Triple Crown finish, Purefoods has set its sight on the legendary Crispa Redmanizers’ long-standing record of six straight titles put together during the league’s fledgling years in the mid-70s.

Back to help the Hotshots recover lost ground is superstar James Yap, who is set to return from a mild hamstring injury and allow the Hotshots to face the Kings with a full compliment following the comeback of power forward Marc Pingris froma sore body earlier.

Blackwater, meantime, continues to search for that elusive first franchise win, having lost its first four games, three of them after failing to hang on to sizeable leads. Globalport, on the other hand, is riding a a rare kind of high after holding off Kia Motors, 84-79, for its second victory this conference – only the first time the Batang Pier did so after going 1-8 win-loss in each of the two previous conferences last year.