(Smart Araneta Coliseum)
4:15 p.m. – Meralco vs Phoenix
7 p.m. – Blackwater vs NLEX
The NLEX Road Warriors look to speed up their entry into the quarterfinals while easing the transition of newly-acquired Cyrus Baguio as they face the upset-minded Blackwater Elite today in the resumption of the PBA Governors’ Cup at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Baguio’s addition from the Phoenix Fuel Masters in a trade consummated Tuesday has boosted the Road Warriors’ chances of not only making the playoffs for the first time since coach Yeng Guiao’s appointment in the offseason but also getting the elusive twice-to-beat advantage given to the top four teams after the eliminations.
“We consider our game against Blackwater as crucial because we calculate that six wins assures of a quarters slot,” said Guiao. “The sooner we get to six wins, the better our chances of working on the twice-to-beat advantage.”
NLEX’s morale is on a high following Sunday’s 100-94 victory over erstwhile unbeaten Meralco, but Guiao acknowledged that beating Blackwater won’t be easy after it tapped former NBA veteran Henry Walker, who incidentally played for the Road Warriors in last season’s Governors’ Cup.
Walker had 32 points in his debut last Aug. 5 when Blackwater stunned Phoenix, 92-86, that ended a 0-3 start.
Meanwhile, Meralco looks to get back on winning track against Phoenix, which will parade new players Jeff Chan and import Brandon Brown, in the 4:15 p.m. opener.
The Bolts, in third place at 4-1, will play minus ace point guard Baser Amer, who is scheduled to leave for Malaysia today to represent Gilas Pilipinas in the Southeast Asian Games.
Phoenix is eager to snap a three-game skid with the addition of Chan, received less than two weeks ago from Rain or Shine, and Brown, who will suit up while regular import Eugene Phelps recovers from a foot injury.