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PBA: Streaking teams collide

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Games Today
(Smart Araneta Coliseum)
4:30 p.m. – GlobalPort vs Mahindra
6:45 p.m. – Ginebra vs TNT KaTropa

TNT KaTropa and Barangay Ginebra San Miguel look to continue their winning streaks before the All-Star break as they clash tonight in a big PBA Commissioner’s Cup match at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

The KaTropa and the Gin Kings collide at 6:45 p.m. in a battle of two teams which haven’t lost since dropping their opening assignments in the midseason tournament.

A victory by TNT (5-1) would put them in a tie for second place with the idle Meralco Bolts while Ginebra (3-1) can move up to third.

Coaches Tim Cone of Ginebra and Nash Racela of TNT are expecting another tough match like in their previous duels.
“They’re one of the elite teams in the league and they’re always a tough matchup because of their ability to get up and down the floor and shoot the threes,” said Cone.

Cone and Ginebra have won three in a row after losing to Phoenix in an April Fool’s Day out-of-town game in Davao City. Their latest mastery came last Wednesday when a huge second half resulting in a 101-92 victory over the struggling NLEX Road Warriors.

“They’re playing well the last couple of games. Parang gumaganda na yung chemistry nila,” said Racela. “They’ve been really playing well together and it would be a challenge for us defending them, especially after seeing them the last game.

The import duel between Ginebra’s Brownlee and TNT’s Donte Greene is expected to spice up the match.

Brownlee has been on a roll in his second stint as Ginebra, averaging 22.3 points, 10.0 rebounds and 5.5 assists.

After a slow start, Greene is slowly beginning to prove his worth as a reliable import for the KaTropa with 26.3 points and 13.3 rebounds. He is coming off a 31-point effort in TNT’s 109-88 mastery of the GlobalPort Batang Pier two days ago at the Big Dome.

Meanwhile, GlobalPort plays Mahindra at 4:30 p.m. in the first game of the final doubleheader before the All-Star games in Cagayan de Oro City, Lucena City and Cebu City.

GlobalPort and Mahindra are in dire need of winning this contest. The Batang Pier are at 1-4 while the Floodbuster hold a 1-5 record.

In last night’s first game, the Star Hotshots capitalized on another squandered lead by the Blackwater Elite and post a 96-90 victory that snapped a two-game losing skid yesterday at the Mall of Asia Arena.

Import Tony Mitchell made a rare appearance off the bench and responded with 17 points and 15 rebounds even as rookie guard Jio Jalalon added 13 points, five rebounds and two assists for the Hotshots, who bounced back from frustrating defeats to Barangay Ginebra San Miguel and Philippine Cup champion San Miguel Beermen.

The Hotshots moved to fifth place at presstime with a 5-2 record after erasing a 70-61 deficit with over a minute left in the third quarter of their Petron Saturday Special game.

Star went on a 13-0 run that ended with a Mitchell slam to take a 74-70 lead with 9:28 remaining. From there, the Hotshots were in control, leaving the Elite frustrated after they blew an eight-point third quarter lead in a 102-91 loss to the Meralco Bolts last week.

KG Canaleta scored 27 points while import Greg Smith had 22 points and 29 rebounds but the Elite dropped to share of 10th and 11th with the Mahindra Floodbuster at 1-6.

First Game
STAR 96 – Mitchell 17, Lee 15, Jalalon 13, Melton 10, Maliksi 10, Sangalang 9, Barroca 9, Reavis 6, Dela Rosa 4, Simon 3, Javier 0, Brondial 0.

BLACKWATER 90 – Canaleta 27, Smith 22, DiGregorio 11, Pascual 8, Sena 8, Cruz 6, Pinto 4, Gamalinda 2, Cervantes.