Games Today (Smart Araneta)
3 p.m. – Kia vs Globalport
5:15 p.m. – Ginebra vs Meralco
In danger of missing the playoffs, Ginebra needs to bring its A-game when it battles Meralco today even as Globaport and Kia try to shore up their own quarterfinal chances in the PBA Governors’ Cup at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
With a 3-5 record, the Kings have to shoot well from the outside and play solid defensively and consistently in their 5:15 p.m. showdown if they want to stay in the hunt for a quarterfinal berth.
Their match alone is already a big treat for an expected huge Sunday crowd as Meralco is also in dire need of a win to boost their playoff bid.
After losing their previous games – Ginebra, which lost to Star Hotshots ,82-89, and Meralco, which absorbed an 89-75 defeat to Alaska, must win their last three remaining matches to advance into the next round.
American Orlando Johnson is not a bad import for Ginebra , but the problem of the team is the inconsistency of the locals.
Ginebra and Meralco are coming off losses with the Kings bowing to Star, 89-82, and the Bolts yielding to Alaska, 89-75.
Equally exciting is the 3 p.m. encounter between Globalport (5-4) and Kia (4-3) as both teams are eyeing a top four finish.
The top four finishers will secure twice-to-beat advantages against their quarterfinal rivals.
The bottom four teams – 9th to 12th – will be automatically eliminated.
Both the Carnival and Batang Pier are fresh from big wins with the latter scoring a massive 108-80 win over NLEX (108-80) last Friday, while the former pulling off a 71-68 win over the Barako Bull Energy Cola.
Globalport’s fifth win was already an achievement for Coach Pido Jarencio having surpassed his total won games as mentor of the team.
“Nalagpasan ko din yung won game total ko as head coach ng Globalport,” said Jarencio, who was elevated anew as mentor of the Batang Pier after he was relieved of his duties and appointed as team consultant.
Globalport was at 4-4 when the team suffered a humiliating 95-69 defeat against San Miguel Beer, forcing the management to appoint assistant coach Eric Gonzales as interim mentor.
“We have a big chance na pumasok sa quarterfinals, maganda yung nilalaro ng buong team. Ang maganda, hindi lang kami may pag-asa na pumasok, may chance din kami na magkaroon ng twice-to-beat,” said Jarencio.
“Kailangan lang namin alagaan, kailangan namin pag-igihan ng husto itong remaining two games kasi hawak namin yung pwede namin maging destinasyon sa playoffs e,” added Jarencio.
In their win against NLEX, Globalport’s import Jarrid Famous collected 30 points and 24 rebounds with four assists, two steals and three shot blocks, while ace guard Terrence Romeo added 22 points and Asian import Omar Krayem of Palestine had 19 points off the bench.
The team will face a Kia side that limited Barako Bull to 68 points – far from the team’s league best 108 points average, as import Hamady N’Diaye anchored the team’s suffocating defense.
“We have to work hard on defense if we want to win,” said Kia’s assistant coach Chito Victolero.
Kia is expected to have an additional boost as boxing legend and the team’s appointed player/coach Manny Pacquiao, who is recovering from a shoulder injury, is expected join the team. (Waylon Galvez)