(Mall of Asia Arena)
5 p.m. – Globalport vs Ginebra
Fresh from pulling off one of its best wins so far under coach Tim Cone, crowd favorite Barangay Ginebra San Miguel shoots for a semifinal spot when it tackles Globalport today in the Smart Bro PBA Philippine Cup quarterfinal playoffs at the Mall of Asia (MOA) Arena in Pasay City.
In a shootout against the Star Hotshots, the twice-to-beat Kings got the lift they needed as veteran guard LA Tenorio knocked in a game winning three-pointer at the buzzer that led to 92-89 overtime win on Christmas day.
Globalport entered the ‘do-or-die’ second stage of the quarterfinal round after the Batang Pier – armed with a twice-to-beat incentive – eliminated Barako Bull with a 94-85 win also last Friday.
The lone game is scheduled at 5 p.m. The winner will advance to the best-of-seven semifinal series against Alaska starting January.
“It’s one of the most amazing games I’ve been involved,” said Cone of Ginebra’s triumph against his former team Star, who he coached since 2011 before moving to the Kings prior to the start of the season.
“From a coaching standpoint, it wasn’t a well played game. But these guys really displayed a great heart (versus the Hotshots). When I’m long gone they’re still going at it,” added Cone.
Sol Mercado, who missed an uncontested layup at the buzzer at the end of regulation that led to OT, scored 17 points and atoned himself when he found an open Tenorio for that winning triple.
Ginebra will face a team that has the best backcourt duo in Terrence Romeo and Stanley Pringle. Romeo exploded for 33 points against the Energy last Friday, while Pringle had 15 points and 13 rebounds.
“It should be an exciting game against Globalport,” said Cone.
“Romeo just took over the game, I understand in the second half (against Barako). Him and Pringle are two dynamic players we have to deal with. We only have a day to prepare so it’s going to be very difficult,” he added.
Ginebra won (85-70) its first and only meeting with Globalport during the elimination, as 7-foot Slaughter collected 22 points and 21 rebounds, while former MVP Mark Caguioa also had 22 markers.
In that game, Romeo and Pringle combined for just 23 points as the pair shot a miserable 7-of-26 from the field, including 4-of-11 from three point territory with six turnovers.
Cone said the key for them is to use their height advantage on Globalport with Slaughter and 6-10 forward Japeth Aguilar expected to play heavy minutes after playing less against Star as Cone opted to play small ball.
As for Batang Pier, coach Pido Jarencio said that their win against Barako Bull was a testament on their readiness to compete in the playoffs.
“Gusto talaga nila (Batang Pier) pumasok sa semis. Talagang nag step-up yung mga players especially Terrence. Ang importante ngayon e ready kami (against Ginebra) to play,” said Jarencio.