KIA Motors eyes to stretch its win streak in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup and give playing-coach Manny Pacquiao a fitting sendoff when it battles fellow expansion team Blackwater Saturday at The Arena in San Juan.
The Carnival are currently on a two-game winning run following their upset of Talk `N Text last Wednesday that raised their record to 3-4. They hope to add the Elite to their list of victims and enhance the team’s bid for a first ever playoff appearance.
Likewise, KIA is looking to win the 5 p.m. encounter as a perfect send-off for Pacquiao, who’s expected to suit up in the game before leaving for the United States later in the night to begin his intensive two-month training for his May 2 fight against Floyd Mayweather Jr.
KIA lead assistant coach Chito Victolero said the team’s three victories over powerhouse squads San Miguel Beer, defending champion Purefoods, and the Tropang Texters was a product of the team’s improved chemistry and good ball movement.
“Iyung chemistry namin nag-improve, then, our shooting percentage has also improved, tapos maganda ang confidence namin ngayon at ball movement,” noted Victolero, whose team is currently tied for joint eighth spot with NLEX in the standings.
Although KIA whipped Blackwater in its initial encounter this season, 80-66, during the opener of the Philippine Cup, Victolero admitted a lot of has changed since then.
The Elite are now powered by veteran import in Marcus Douthit, and have already registered the first victory in franchise history following their upset of the Beermen, 80-77.
“Basta kami, we need work on our defense dahil sa start ng first quarter (against Talk ‘N Text), they scored 33 points agad. Although yung offense naman namin gumaganda, yung rules namin sa depensa kailangan naming sundin,” said Victolero, a former Mapua Cardinal head coach in the NCAA.
The Elite are coming off a tough 82-89 loss to Barangay Ginebra Kings the last time, their third straight defeat as they remain in the cellar with a 1-6 (win-loss) record.
A sweep of its last four games is imperative for Blackwater to remain in the hunt for a playoff spot.