Japeth Aguilar set for return as Ginebra takes on NLEX for quarterfinal spot
Japeth Aguilar is set to return from an elbow injury when Ginebra battles NLEX. Jerome Ascano

BARANGAY Ginebra seeks to avoid playoff complications as it takes on an eliminated, yet still dangerous NLEX side in the PBA Philippine Cup on Sunday at the Cuneta Astrodome.

Coming off 79-73 loss to Phoenix last Sunday that left them in a must-win situation for an outright quarterfinal berth, the Gin Kings are eager to finish their elimination-round campaign with a victory that will bring them back to .500 as they take the court at 6:45 p.m.

The Gin Kings get a boost with the return of Japeth Aguilar from an elbow injury that forced him to the game against the Fuel Masters, assistant coach Richard del Rosario confirmed on Saturday.

But Gin Kings star playmaker LA Tenorio warned his team, sporting an even 5-5 win-loss record, to not let their guard down against the Road Warriors, who are stuck at bottom after winning just two of their first 10 games.

“Mas mahirap kalaban yung ganoong team, yung walang pressure,” Tenorio said. “It’s a do or die for us. Wala naman kaming choice.”

A loss for the Gin Kings will leave them in a waiting game, falling either to a low seed with a twice-to-win disadvantage or even in a playoff for the last postseason spot.

Despite being out of contention, the Road Warriors are hoping to finish a trying first conference under coach Yeng Guiao on a winning note.

But NLEX continues to be without star forward Sean Anthony, who sidelined with an MCL (medial collateral ligament) injury. 

Follow the writer on Twitter: @KarloSacamos