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Kings eye 3rd win

 

By JONAS TERRADO

 

Defending champion Barangay Ginebra and San Miguel Beer try to stay unbeaten before the two-week break due to the FIBA World Cup Qualifiers when they face separate rivals today in the PBA Governors’ Cup at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

Ginebra tries to make it three in a row and gain the solo lead in the 7 p.m. meeting with winless NorthPort after San Miguel aims for a second consecutive victory opposite Blackwater in the opener at 4:30 p.m.

Today’s doubleheader will be the last before the league takes a long respite to make way for Gilas Pilipinas’ campaign in the World Cup Qualifiers against host Iran on Sept. 13 and Qatar in a closed-door match at the Smart Araneta Coliseum on Sept. 17.

PBA action resumes on Sept. 19.

Though favored to keep its winning ways, Ginebra coach Tim Cone is wary that a different NorthPort side will show up after starting the conference 0-3.

Stanley Pringle is back from representing the country in the Asian Games while Sean Anthony has reportedly recovered from an injured calf.

“With Pringle and Anthony back in the fold, NorthPort is a completely different team than what we’ve seen so far this conference,” Cone said.

“With those guys, they are true contenders. It’s our third game in six games so it will be a concern for us. We know we have a battle in our hands.”

The two NorthPort stars were impressive during the Commissioner’s Cup with Pringle averaging 21.0 points, 5.5 rebounds and 5.7 assists while Anthony posted 18.5 points, 9.9 rebounds, 4.1 assists and 2.1 steals in the midseason tourney.

Expected to add problems for Cone is Batang Pier reinforcement Rashad Woods with his 36.3 points, 7.3 rebounds, 5.0 assists and 1.7 steals.
Ginebra will be led by Justin Brownlee, who has kept his superb play from the title run in the Commissioner’s Cup with averages of 39.5 points, 15.5 rebounds, 7.0 assists, 2.0 steals and 1.5 blocks in the wins over Columbian Dyip and Alaska.

In the first game, San Miguel attempts to keep its winning ways despite missing June Mar Fajardo due to a stress fracture on his right shin.

Fajardo is expected to be out for at least six to eight weeks.

Rookie Christian Standhardinger could once again fill up the void left by Fajardo’s absence after scoring 36 points straight from his lengthy trip from his Asian Games campaign in Jakarta last Saturday that gave the Beermen a winning start by beating the NLEX Road Warriors.

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