THE GlobalPort Batang Pier and Barangay Ginebra San Miguel Kings collide in a key Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) Commissioner’s Cup game today at the Cuneta Astrodome in Pasay City with an outright playoff berth at stake.
Both sporting 5-5 records with their 7 p.m. encounter left to play in their elimination-round schedules, the Batang Pier and Kings look to get the better of the other to advance to the next round complication-free.
A win notch for the protagonists a sixth victory, the magic number to move to the quarterfinals, while a defeat could see them needing to play in a do-or-die match for the last quarterfinal spot in the event the Phoenix Fuel Masters (4-6) beat the Alaska Aces (7-3) in the scheduled 4 p.m. today.
GlobalPort comes into the contest fresh from its 133-115 victory over also-rans Columbian Dyip on June 22 where All-Star guard Stanley Pringle fired off 50 points to tow his team to the win.
Mr. Pringle also had six assists, five rebounds and three steals in a brilliant all-around game.
Malcolm White finished with 28 points and 14 rebounds while Jonathan Grey added 16 markers of his own.
“This is a big win for us. I told the players that we couldn’t afford to lose this game as we are going to a crucial game against Ginebra. We’re still not safe and we have to be ready to play,” said GlobalPort coach Pido Jarencio following their win over Columbian.
The same cautious stand is being taken by Barangay Ginebra, this notwithstanding its string of four wins in a row of late.
“We’re really on a good groove. I really don’t know why. I don’t know what we’re doing that is making us play as well as we are but it’s working. I really don’t know what it is but we hope to continue doing it,” said Barangay Ginebra coach Tim Cone following their 105-86 rout of Alaska on June 24.
“We’re really playing well. Guys are sharing the ball. Our defense has really, really stepped up. But we’re not out of the woods yet. We are not in the top six. We need to get one more and we have GlobalPort next… We are playing good basketball and we want to keep our momentum going but we’ll see what happens,” added the Kings coach.
Justin Brownlee led the way for the Kings over the Aces with 28 points, nine rebounds and eight assists.
LA Tenorio had 12 markers while Sol Mercado tallied 10.
Meanwhile, Phoenix tries to keep its playoff hopes alive with a win over Alaska in the opener.
The Fuel Masters won over GlobalPort in their last game, 135-108, on June 20 to stay alive, something they hope to build on.
“I guess we are still alive. But more than that, I hope this is a start of something big for us moving forward,” said Phoenix coach Louie Alas after their win.
For Alaska, a win will also be big as it not only affords it a bounce back after two straight losses but also could secure for them a top two finish in the eliminations and earn for the team a twice-to-beat advantage in the quarterfinals. — Michael Angelo S. Murillo