Defense is name of the game as Kia, Globalport collide in battle of rising teams
“I’m very proud of my players kasi may gusto talaga silang patunayan.” said Kia coach Chito Victolero as the Carnival are again overachieving in the PBA Governors Cup. Dante Peralta

KIA tries to continue translating its intensity, especially on defense, in training to the court against GlobalPort as both squads keep jockeying for playoff position in the PBA Governors’ Cup on Sunday.

The Carnival have carved out a reputation as one of the best defensive teams in the season-ending tournament, enabling their meteoric transformation from just giant killers to legitimate postseason contenders.

Anchored on towering import Hamady N’Diaye, the Carnival’s elite defense was obvious in their latest victory, a 71-68 shackling of high-scoring erstwhile solo leader Barako Bull last Wednesday that allowed them to tighten their grip at fourth spot.

What people sees on the court is the same in training sessions of Kia, which carries a 4-3 win-loss record and is poised for a twice-to-beat advantage in the playoffs.

“It’s like hell in practice,” Carnival coach Chito Victolero said. “Sometimes, nagkakapikunan na sila.”

“I’m very proud of my players kasi may gusto talaga silang patunayan.”

The Carnival, though, are facing another emerging side in the Batang Pier that’s also eager to grab a high seeding in the quarterfinals in the 3 p.m. encounter that precedes the matchup between Meralco (4-4) and Barangay Ginebra (3-5) at 5:15 p.m.

The fifth-running Batang Pier (5-4) will likewise try to give the Carnival a dose of their own medicine.

“Ang goal namin is (to limit opponents to) eighty points or below,” Batang Pier coach Pido Jarencio said.

GlobalPort is achieving its objective as it held NLEX in a 108-80 victory last Friday after allowing foes to score an average of 119.4 points in their last five games.

The Batang Pier will still rely on a high-octane offense led by the prolific backcourt trio of Terrence Romeo, Stanley Pringle, and Palestinian Omar Krayem, while Jarrid Famous holds the fort down low.

The Carnival have their own offensive options in Taiwanese Jett Chang, LA Revilla, Hyram Bagatsing, and Alex Nuyles.

Follow the writer on Twitter: @KarloSacamos