COMING off a nine-day respite after back-to-back losses, coach Jeffrey Cariaso said Barangay Ginebra is now treating its last three games like the playoffs, beginning with GlobalPort when they clash in the opening game of the PBA Philippine Cup eliminations on Sunday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
The Gin Kings (5-3) are coming off losses to San Miguel Beer and Meralco, but are raring to get back on the winning track against the Batang Pier (4-5), who will be parading a new coach in Eric Gonzales.
Pido Jarencio was recently relieved of his duties following the Batang Pier’s 95-69 blowout loss to the Beermen.
[See Pido Jarencio out as GlobalPort coach; Eric Gonzales takes over on interim basis]
“The good thing about coming off two straight losses is the opportunity to learn and improve,” said Cariaso.
The match starts at 3 p.m.
“We’ll use the adversity to prepare and motivate us going into the final three games. For us, the playoffs start tomorrow.”
Chances of clinching one of two automatic semifinal seats may no longer be there, but the Gin Kings are expected to come out firing against a Batang Pier side that relies a lot on their so-called “three-headed
monster” of Alex Cabagnot, rookie Stanley Pringle and Terrence Romeo.
Ginebra’s “Twin Towers” of Greg Slaughter and Japeth Aguilar will keep GlobalPort’s frontline of Jewel Ponferada, Mark Isip and Yancy de Ocampo busy on the defensive.
[See Meralco pulls off shocker to arrest slide and send Ginebra to second straight loss]
The 6-foot-11 Slaughter averages double-double numbers of 15.6 points and 12.6 rebounds, while the high-leaping Aguilar norms 14.1 points and 9.8 boards.
“We lost back to back games but the season is not over yet. Now we’ll just try to finish strong in the eliminations,” said Slaughter.