Games Today (Smart Araneta)
4:15 p.m. – Talk ‘N Text vs Barako Bull
7 p.m. – Kia Motors vs Barangay Ginebra
Unbeaten Barako Bull, believe it or not, eyes a share of leadership in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup today when it takes on Talk ‘N Text even as Barangay Ginebra San Miguel seeks to dodge the bullet against Kia Motors at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Game time starts at 4:15 p.m., with the Barako Bull Energy aiming for their fourth straight win and a slice of the top spot with 4-0 ballclubs Meralco and defending champion Purefoods, while the Tropang Texters hope to improve on their 2-1 slate.
In the main offering, Barangay Ginebra (1-2) and the Kia Carnival (1-3) clash at 7 p.m. The Kings are coming off a 95-82 rout of beleaguered Philippine Cup champion San Miguel Beer, while the Carnival were sent back to earth by Barako Bull, 95-86, just four days after Kia shocked SMB, 88-78.
With their three previous wins coming against Blackwater, Kia Motors and a disorganized Barangay Ginebra, the Energy face an acid test in Talk ‘N Text, which is aching to rebound from a 91-83 loss to the Meralco Bolts.
Leading the charge for Barako Bull are the two Solomons – Alabi and Mercado – point guard Chico Lanete and the much-improved JC Intal, while the Tropang Texters will bank on import Richard Howell, Jayson Castro, Ranidel de Ocampo, Kevin Alas and the resurrected Willie Miller.
The Kings, on the other hand, will have their hands full bottling up 7-4 Kia import PJ Ramos in an effort to avoid the fate suffered by San Miguel Beer earlier.
After checking a 2-game losing start and finally putting on display its vaunted running game against SMB, Barangay Ginebra is looking to kick off a run of its own to get out of 7th spot where it is tied with the Alaska Aces.
The game against San Miguel had 11 lead changes and three deadlocks but all occurred in the first quarter, with the Kings taking off following the tight opening minutes on the way to a 16-point spread just before the end.
Michael Dunigan, who chose Barangay Ginebra over Meralco, finally atoned for two unimpressive performances, the second a 69-68 heartbreaker against Barako Bull where Dunigan battled the effects of food poisoning and diarrhea; he had 29 points and 13 rebounds against the Beermen.
Kia player-coach and eight-division world boxing champion Manny Pacquiao finally joined the Carnival on the bench after missing their first three games, including their sensational victory over San Miguel. Pacquiao suited up for the Barako Bull game last Sunday but didn’t play and instead spent some of his time stepping in the middle of several skirmishes that broke out between the two teams.