NLEX relishes its chance at payback as it faces Barangay Ginebra on Wednesday in an explosive dispute for solo second in the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) Philippine Cup at the MOA Arena.

The Road Warriors (2-1) primed up for the 6 p.m. grudge match with their Governors’ Cup semifinal conquerors with a morale-boosting 90-89 win over defending champion TnT last Thursday.

The Gin Kings (2-1), on the other hand, look to pick themselves up after yielding to Magnolia last Sunday, 89-84.

Meanwhile, Converge (1-3) and Terrafirma (0-3) clash at 3 p.m., both intent on giving their sagging fortunes a boost.

“We always look forward to games against Ginebra because they’re the crowd favorites and at the same time, tinalo nila kami nung semifinals,” said NLEX ace Kevin Alas, their 3-1 defeat in the Governors’ Cup Final Four series.

Ginebra won’t be lacking in motivation, either, especially after its disappointing outing in the most recent “Manila Clasico” match.

“We didn’t play with much energy, we were slow in our rotation and our defense inside the paint was pretty terrible,” rued coach Tim Cone.

“We weren’t ready to play a tough, physical-type game. Hopefully, we learned some lessons from it and we’ll come out better. We’re going to play another highly-physical team in NLEX (today) then play San Miguel back to back on Friday. It’s a tough schedule, we’ll see how we respond.”

A major source of concern for the Gin Kings is the status of Stanley Pringle, who is dealing with hamstring issues. The Fil-Am guard limped out in the third quarter of Sunday’s game and may not be readily available for quick return to action.

Before the Ginebra-NLEX setito, two teams lurking in the bottom clash at 3 p.m. with the FiberXers bidding to snap a two-game slide and the injury-hit Dyip gunning for that breakthrough win. — Olmin Leyba