TWO days after snapping out of a five-game losing streak, Barangay Ginebra faces another daunting test when it takes on reigning champion Talk ‘N Text on Sunday as action in the PBA Philippine Cup shifts to the MOA Arena in Pasay City.
Siot Tanquingcen and the Kings return to action barely 48 hours after a hard-earned 81-79 win over league newcomer Globalport, ending a free fall that piled the pressure on the veteran coach and the rest of his revamped team.
Talk 'N Text, however, presents an even bigger test for the Kings. The Texters have lost just once in eight games and have had a much smoother transition from former coach Chot Reyes to Norman Black.
“Mahirap nga ito, admittedly, we’re going up against the number one team in the league so we need to learn to trust each other, especially in this situation na mahirap," said Tanquingcen.
At 3-5, Ginebra needs to start piling up wins if it hopes to have a chance of going beyond the eliminations and doing well in the kockout style playoffs, Tanquingcen said.
"With the way the format is made up, top two is twice to beat, then numbers 3, 4,5 and 6 play best-of-three, somehow, mentality namin is get to the quarterfinals, and hopefully, medyo in sync na kami by then so we can make that run,” said Tanquingcen.
Against Globalport, Ginebra made the game-clinching run at a time when Tanquingcen turned to battle-tested players like Mark Caguioa, Jayjay Helterbrand, LA Tenorio, Rudy Hatfield, and Billy Mamaril - a combination Caguioa obviously hopes to see a lot more against the Texters.
“Napansin mo lineup namin, mga beterano eh. Guys know their spots. They are not rushing, better ball movement. Alam nila kanino pupunta yung bola,” said Caguioa, who finished the game with a team-high 19 points.
"Sina LA (Tenorio) and JayJay…they are not rushing shots. I would say, mas maganda yung combination for this game, tingnan natin sa next game."
The Tropang Texters are coming off a 92-82 lynching of the Petron Boosters on Wednesday, and are looking to build on that against the Gin Kings.
In the 4:15 p.m. opener, injury-plagued Petron (3-5) hope to begin its climb to the upper half of the standings in a game against a dangerous Meralco five (4-3).
The Boosters are 1-2 under rookie coach Olsen Racela, who has taken complete control of running the team since consultant Rajko Toroman was relieved of his duty three weeks ago.
Racela has set modest goals for a team that has had a rough transition in the first month of the season and, worse, had been depleted by injuries to big men June Mar Fajardo, Danny Ildefonso, and Dorian Pena.
“Right now, maka-akyat muna kami. Di namin goal yung mag-top two. One game at a time lang and avoid being in the last two. We don’t want to be at a twice-to-beat disadvantage kaya crucial yung game against Meralco,” said Racela.