Tim Cone, Ginebra shift to 'playoff mentality' ahead of game against Tropang TNT 
Tim Cone says the game against TNT is a chance for Ginebra to 'learn more about ourselves and prepare for the playoffs." Dante Peralta

BARANGAY Ginebra shifts its postseason bid into higher gear entering a decisive stretch to end the PBA Commissioner’s Cup elimination round, starting with a game against Tropang TNT on Wednesday at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.

The Gin Kings have been on a steady drive throughout the eliminations and are running third in the 12-team standings with five victories in eight outings in a tie with Alaska.

And the league’s crowd darlings are gaining ground on the strength of back-to-back wins, the latest a pulsating come-from-behind 102-101 victory over Phoenix behind the heroics of LA Tenorio in Panabo two Saturdays ago.

But Ginebra faces a huge obstacle in the defending champion Texters, who are also starting to pick up the pace with two successive wins after a roller-coaster start to their title-retention campaign.

After the Texters, who are toting an even 4-4 win-loss record, the Gin Kings take on San Miguel Beer in their last game of the eliminations on Sunday.

“It’s the homestretch, so obviously every game is crucial at this point,” Gin Kings coach Tim Cone said on Tuesday. “We play a couple of elite teams which makes our road a little tougher.”

“But we’ll have this opportunity to learn about ourselves and prepare for the playoffs,” the champion mentor added.

A victory for Ginebra in the 7 p.m. encounter will enable them to take solo third spot, just behind the Beermen on percentage, while the Texters have a chance to break away from a four-team logjam and gain fifth spot if they beat the Gin Kings.

Othyus Jeffers continues to lead the Gin Kings along with twin towers Greg Slaughter and Japeth Aguilar who will try to stop Texters import David Simon.

Tenorio matches up with Jayson Castro, who after returning after a one-game absence due to an Achilles injury, rested during Gilas practice on Monday to be fresh against the Gin Kings.

Phoenix (2-5) seeks to bounce back from that heartbreaking loss to Ginebra as it takes on fellow struggling Blackwater (3-6) earlier at 4:14 p.m.

Follow the writer on Twitter: @KarloSacamos