MAHINDRA gets another chance to live up to its tag as a giant-slayer as it seeks to deal TNT Katropa its first loss when the two teams face off in the PBA Governors’ Cup on Friday at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.
The Enforcer are the surprise team of this season-ending conference, having won five of their first seven games – mostly against perennial contenders – to close in on their first-ever postseason berth, and even emerging as a darkhorse pick to go all the way.
But the sophomore squad faces an acid test in the pacesetting Texters, who have won their first six games of the tournament behind the superb play of their local stars.
“We prepared these past few days of practice with the mindset that it will take a championship effort from each and every one of our players in order to pull out a victory against TNT,” Mahindra coach Chris Gavina said in a text message on the eve of the 4:15 p.m. matchup.
“We also worked on valuing each possession at practice to address our past turnover issues from last game,” the rookie coach added after his team’s turnovers proved a major factor in their two straight losses before they got back on track with a 97-88 win over Blackwater last Sunday.
James White continues to energize the Enforcer, who also turn to LA Revilla, Aldrech Ramos, and Nino Canaleta for firepower and leadership.
Meanwhile, one more win for the Texters, who outdueled Phoenix, 124-117, last Friday in Antipolo, will all but formalize their entry to the quarterfinals, but coach Jong Uichico reminded his wards to guard against complacency.
“We’re just trying to win as many games as we can, trying to play the same way game in and game out, trying to keep that concentration in practice and in the game,” said Uichico, who draws strength from a powerhouse local core led by Gilas standouts Jayson Castro, Ranidel de Ocampo, Troy Rosario, and Ryan Reyes.
TNT Asian import Mike Madanly has also finally found his groove, leading the way in their win over the Fuel Masters (2-4), who take on NLEX (3-3) in the second game game at 7 o’clock.