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PBA: San Miguel, Ginebra collide tonight

Games Today
(Smart Araneta Coliseum)
4:30 p.m. – Alaska vs Kia
6:45 p.m. – San Miguel vs Ginebra

Huge implications are at stake for defending champion Barangay Ginebra San Miguel and the Grand Slam-seeking San Miguel Beermen when they face off tonight in the PBA Governors’ Cup at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

Both teams need a shot in the arm in their 6:45 p.m. contest as they aim to live up to their status as among the teams to beat in the season-ending conference.

The sister teams, though, are carrying contrasting fortunes at this point of the tourney.

Ginebra leads the pack at 7-1, unbeaten since opening the conference with a 93-78 loss to Meralco last July 23. But coach Tim Cone believes that beating the Beermen would make their confidence soar even higher.

“We would like to be the team to beat,” Cone said after Ginebra’s 98-81 triumph over Blackwater in their Friday night match at the Mall of Asia Arena. ‘We are leading the pack at the moment but everybody knows that San Miguel is the team to beat. This would be our first challenge to go against them.”

While Ginebra wants to stay on top, San Miguel is perhaps desperate to regain its old deadly form. The Beermen are in a share of sixth spot at 4-3, an unusual situation for a talent-laden team that is used to winning.

But Wednesday’s 103-96 win over Rain or Shine in a game that saw the talent-laden locals deliver in lieu of another lousy game of import Terik Bridgeman could be a sign that San Miguel is back.

However, Beermen mentor Leo Austria has plenty things to worry going into its tussle with Ginebra.

“Ginebra right now is really playing well. For me, they are the team because of the return of Greg Slaughter. At least three bigs sila lagi e, yun ang main concern namin. With this win, I hope yung team namin ma-motivate against Ginebra,” he said.

The Beermen will parade new import Terrence Watson, giving Ginebra a mystery of solve. Cone, though, would rather center his attention on the likes of Chris Ross, June Mar Fajardo, Marcio Lassiter, Alex Cabagnot and Arwind Santos – San Miguel’s lethal locals.

“We’re all trying to reach that level, but they’re on another level. The five when they get on the floor together, they’re like a well-oiled machine,” Cone said. “We’re concerned about Watson, we haven’t seen him play but we’re really more concerned about the local crew.”

Alaska seeks a third straight win after a 14-game losing skid and stay within pace of the race for quarterfinal berths when it takes on struggling Kia in the 4:30 p.m. opener.

The Aces (2-6) are 1 1/2-game behind the Elite (4-5) for eighth spot and one off the ninth-running GlobalPort Batang Pier (3-5) – the team they beat Friday, 101-88.

Kia remains as the only team without a victory this conference, losing all eight games. The Picanto hope to spoil the Aces’ quest to stay in the playoff hunt.