(Mall of Asia Arena)
4:15 p.m. – Alaska vs GlobalPort
7 p.m. – Blackwater vs Ginebra
Barangay Ginebra San Miguel eyes a momentum-building win before Sunday’s battle royale with San Miguel when it faces Blackwater tonight in the PBA Governors’ Cup at the Mall of Asia Arena.
Ginebra coach Tim Cone has urged his wards not to let their guards down and use the 7 p.m. encounter as a perfect avenue to go into the weekend showdown with the Grand Slam-seeking Beermen with a high level of confidence.
“It seems like everytime we play San Miguel, we only have one day of preparation. It’s been like that for the last five conferences, it seems,” Cone said. “We can never get enough time to really sink our teeth into them. But we can’t look past Blackwater, obviously. That will be our emphasis.”
Blackwater has been a difficult team to beat since the arrival of import Henry Walker, winning three of its last four. The Elite, carrying an even 4-4 record, are coming off a 117-96 demolition of the winless Kia Picanto, to enhance their chances of making the eight-team quarterfinals.
“They’re playing way, way too well for us to look past them. We’ll try to keep this thing going. Big weekend for us,” Cone said.
The match will probably be a bit awkward for both teams as they face off for the first time since last week’s trade that saw Chris Ellis and Dave Marcelo being sent to the Elite for injured forward Art de la Cruz and Raymond Aguilar.
Ellis, however, could miss his Blackwater debut after being hospitalized recently, but Marcelo is expected to get big minutes as he faces former Ginebra teammates Greg Slaughter and Japeth Aguilar down low.
Meanwhile, Alaska aims another victory following the end of its miserable 14-game losing skid in the 4:15 p.m. opener opposite GlobalPort.
Aces coach Alex Compton expressed optimism that his team, which improved to 1-6 after Saturday’s 90-79 stunner over the Beermen, can still make a serious run at the playoffs.
“We still have a mathematical chance of making the playoffs but we need a little help in terms of other teams that we are trying to catch. We will just keep fighting and see what happens,” said Compton, whose team is 2.5 games off Blackwater for eighth spot.
GlobalPort is out to redeem itself from Sunday’s 109-99 defeat to NLEX, a result that sent the Batang Pier down to ninth place at 3-4, half-game behind the Elite.