BARANGAY Ginebra may be holding a twice-to-beat-edge going into the playoffs of the PBA Philippine Cup.
But the Kings are not about to take chances especially since they are about to face a slightly re-tooled team that had beaten them by 21 points the last time they met.
The fifth-seeded Kings will try to make short work of the eight-ranked GlobalPort Batang Pier in their 7 p.m. encounter on Friday at the Ynares Center in Antipolo, looking for a win to secure a berth in the next round.
Doing so however, is easier said than done.
The Batang Pier inflicted the Kings their worst beating this conference following a 98-77 win last November 30 that marked the debut of interim coach Eric Gonzales. The game also saw sophomore guard Terrence Romeo torch the Kings for 25 points.
And expected to give Ginebra another major concern is the return of combo guard Sol Mercado to the GlobalPort franchise after being acquired from San Miguel just before the trade deadline in exchange for Alex Cabagnot.
Mercado, who was shipped by the Batang Pier to the Beermen in last season’s Commissioner’s Cup also for Cabagnot, averaged 6.2 points, 2.8 rebounds, and 2.6 assists as back-up to Chris Ross in the San Miguel backkourt.
Following the loss to GlobalPort, Ginebra split its final two games in the eliminations, including a 100-90 setback against Rain or Shine just last Sunday.
“We’ll prepare well. Still you want to be able to go to the playoffs on a good note,” admitted Ginebra coach Jeffrey Cariaso shortly after the loss to the Elasto Painters.
Globalport is also going to the playoffs on a losing note after dropping an 82-70 decision against Meralco Tuesday that denied the team a twice-to-beat edge in a game that proved to be Cabagnot’s last with the franchise.
Whatever the Batang Pier will bring on the table, Cariaso said the Kings are ready.
“It’s playoff time now, so we just have to be ready,” he said.