BARANGAY Ginebra will have to wait a little more to find out if it already has what it takes to prevail over a top contender in the Smart Bro-PBA Philippine Cup.
For now, the Gin Kings continue their development under coach Tim Cone and they take on a similarly progressing team in NLEX on Sunday at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.
The Gin Kings showed their progress after outlasting Blackwater, 102-94, in double overtime in Angeles City last Saturday.
“We’re doing a little better, but we haven’t proven we can beat an elite team yet,” said Cone, whose team lost to San Miguel Beer and Rain or Shine.
“We beat Alaska, but we got a good call down the stretch to squeak that one out,” the Grand Slam champion coach was quick to add, referring to their hard-earned 93-92 win over the Aces in Dubai.
They cannot gauge their true level until they get to face the Beermen or the Elasto Painters deep in the playoffs – if the quarterfinals-bound team gets that far.
The Gin Kings, running sixth with a 5-4 win-loss record, are also set to finish the elimination round against another contender in Talk ‘N Text.
But first, Ginebra must first take care of the task at hand in the 5:15 matchup against the Road Warriors, who are just a game behind them in the 12-team standings at 4-5.
“NLEX is playing well and TNT is another elite team, Cone said. “We’re just trying to get to that level. and games like (the one vs the Elite) will help us to get to that level of being an elite team: develop our character and poise down the stretch.”
The Road Warriors may yet be contenders, but they gave San Miguel Beer a scare when NLEX forced an overtime against the defending champions before surrendering an 88-80 decision last Wednesday.
Barako Bull, toting a similar slate as NLEX, faces Star (3-6) in the curtain-raiser at 3 o’clock.