Meralco, Globalport clash in crucial tiff with twice-to-beat edge in playoffs at stake
Interim Globalport coach Eric Gonzales hopes to win his second game with the Batang Pier for a twice-to-beat advantage in the PBA Philippine Cup playoffs. Jaime Campos

WITH no less than a last twice-to-beat incentive at stake, GlobalPort and Meralco are expected to fiercely slug it out in the main game of Tuesday’s PBA Philippine Cup triple header at the Astrodome.

Both the Batang Pier and the Bolts are tied at the bottom half of the standings with identical 5-5 records.

But a win by either team could mean punching a ticket in the Top 6 and a last twice-to-beat advantage entering the initial phase of the quarterfinals.

Game time is 7 p.m.

GlobalPort is coming off an eight-day respite, a time frame the Batang Pier used to adjust to new coach Eric Gonzales, who was appointed the team’s interim coach two weeks ago, succeeding Pido Jarencio.

Gonzales had a triumphant coaching debut by steering the Batang Pier to a rousing 98-77 victory over Barangay Ginebra last Nov. 30, clinching a playoff spot for the three-year-old franchise in the process.

Sophomore gunner Terrence Romeo said Gonzales has been emphasizing the importance of sticking close to the team’s game plan, aware that the Batang Pier will be going up against a Bolts’ side mentored by one-time grand slam coach Norman Black.

“Basta stick lang dapat kami sa game plan, saka mahalaga din yung tiwala kami sa isa’t isa,” said the 5-foot-11 guard, who is averaging 22 points on 49 percent field goal shooting in GlobalPort’s last four games.

On the other hand, Meralco forward Sean Anthony said the team is well aware GlobalPort thrives on a mean running game and depends a lot on the high-scoring triumvirate of Romeo, Alex Cabagnot, and top rookie pick Stanley Pringle.

Romeo leads the team this season in scoring his 15.5 points per game average, followed by Cabagnot’s 15.0 points, along with 7.7 rebounds, and 5.0 assists, while Pringle normed 13.5 points, 6.5 rebounds, and 4.9 assists.

“We need to play with energy, contain their guards, and handle their ball pressure,” said Anthony, who averages all-around numbers of 9.6 points, 7.3 rebounds, and 3.1 assists this season.

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