BARANGAY Ginebra dusts off the cobwebs as it tangles with Rain or Shine on Friday night when the PBA Commissioner’s Cup resumes at the Cuneta Astrodome after giving way to the Southeast Asian Basketball Association (Seaba) Championship last week.
The Gin Kings are the league’s hottest team, having won their last five games after starting the conference with a loss. But they have certainly cooled down after playing just one game in almost a month, a 103-102 squeaker over Alaska last Sunday.
Now, the Gin Kings hope to hit the ground running in their return as they play back-to-back games against perennial contenders beginning with the Elasto Painters at 7 p.m. before San Miguel Beer two days later.
“It’s been a terrifically long break so we’re apprehensive as to how sharp we’ll be tomorrow,” Gin Kings coach Tim Cone admitted on Thursday. “Plus, we’re uncertain of Japeth’s availability because he’s had no practice with us this week and hence no preparation for what we’re to do against Rain or Shine.
“We’ll see if we can figure it all out in time for our game,” the champion coach added as Japeth Aguilar has played the entire week with Gilas Pilipinas. “But no doubt, our guys are raring to be back at it.”
The E-Painters could also rest their national team big man in Raymond Almazan as they try to get back on the winning track.
“It’s up to Raymond if he wants to suit up,” ROS coach Caloy Garcia said on the eve of the marquee matchup.
The E-Painters sure need all the help they can get as they haven’t been playing like the defending champions that they are, having lost four of their last five games – the latest a 99-92 loss to Star last May 6 in Batangas - after starting the tournament with three successive wins.
But the E-Painters should get a boost in returning import Duke Crews, who is expected to make his debut after replacing Shawn Taggart.
San Miguel Beer is also eager to regain its winning ways after suffering its first loss in six games – a 112-103 decision at the hands of TNT KaTropa – as it takes on new-look NLEX in the curtain-raiser at 4:15 p.m.