BARANGAY Ginebra zeroes in on a place in the Top 4 of the PBA Governors Cup playoffs when it goes up against league-leader Talk ‘N Text on Sunday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
The Kings wasted a chance to clinch a Top 4 place - and the twice-to-beat edge that goes with it - after losing to Alaska, 66-79, on Friday, but now get a second shot at it in the 5:15 p.m. game against the Texters.
The league's most popular club is currently tied for the second to fourth spots on 5-3 (win-loss) cards with Rain or Shine and San Mig, who face off for another guaranteed Top 4 spot in the final game of the short, single-round eliminations on Monday night.
On the other hand, a loss would send Ginebra tumbling to a tie at 5-4 with Air21, San Miguel Beer, and the loser of the San Mig-Rain or Shine match, prompting the quotient system to come into play to determine which two other teams get the twice-to-beat spots in the playoffs.
Alaska can even join the scrum at 5-4 with a win over Barako Bull in Sunday's opener.
Ginebra coach Jeffrey Cariaso said getting a twice-to-beat advantage is not his focus at the moment. After the letdown against Alaska, the rookie coach said he wants to see Ginebra improve against a well-oiled Talk 'N Text side.
“Today (Saturday), I addressed turnovers and our offense. We struggled in both departments yesterday (Friday against Alaska),” said Cariaso, whose team has gone 1-2 while playing three games over the last six days.
“Talk ‘N Text will prepare us for the playoffs. We are facing a team which is well-coached and (have been playing) together (for a long time),” he added.
“Their import is remarkable and again, our defense will be tested."
At 6-2, Talk 'N Text is the only team guaranteed of a Top 4 place at this point, but coach Norman Black said they do not intend to ease up on the gas pedal in the match against Ginebra.
“I don’t really know how to take it easy and it’s hard for any coach and any team to come out and not play hard against Ginebra. And that’s because they are Ginebra. It’s you against the world,” said Black.
Import Paul Harris is again expected to lead the Tropang Texters as he is coming off a 39-point performance in the win over San Mig - a game which also saw him knock down a season-best nine three-pointers.