Tim Cone wary of retooled Blackwater as Ginebra seeks to avenge preseason loss
A towering battle looms as Poy Erram leads Blackwater against Greg Slaughter and Ginebra. Marlo Cueto / Jerome Ascano

BARANGAY Ginebra is set to find out if Blackwater’s big men can match up with the Gin Kings’ twin towers as both teams face off on Friday night in the PBA Governors’ Cup at the Mall of Asia Arena.

Anchored by stalwarts Greg Slaughter and Japeth Aguilar, the Gin Kings take on an Elite side fielding two promising slotmen in Poy Erram and rookie Raymar Jose.

The retooled Elite side flashed its potential by defeating Ginebra in a tune-up game, 98-89, before the conference started.

“We’re very leery of Blackwater,” Gin Kings coach Tim Cone said on the eve of their 7 p.m. encounter. “They have talented wings and have good size starting with Erram. We’ll need to be a lot better against them than what we were in our last game.”

“They are truly one of the up-and-coming teams in the league,” he added. “They are building their team the right way.”

The 6-foot-7 Erram is averaging close to a double-double of 9.5 points and 12 boards along with 2.5 blocks, and 1.5 assists, while Jose has so far lived up to expectations as this year’s third overall pick by norming 14 points and seven rebounds in his first two games.

And apart from the Erram and Jose, the Elite have other serviceable big men in James Sena, who led the Elite in their preseason win over the Gin Kings, as well as Dave Marcelo, who the Gin Kings traded along with Chris Ellis to get Art dela Cruz and Raymond Aguilar last conference.

Still, Slaughter is expected to continue his dominance after averaging 21 points, 10.5 boards, and 4.5 blocks in his first two outings to be named the most recent PBA Press Corps Player of the Week.

Slaughter and Aguilar anchored the Gin Kings in their 104-97 win over GlobalPort last Sunday, while Erram and Jose stood tall in the Elite’s 92-87 win over Rain or Shine last December 29.

ROS (1-1) and GlobalPort (0-2) look to bounce back from those respective losses as they take on each other in the curtain-raiser at 4:30 p.m. 

Follow the writer on Twitter: @KarloSacamos