LA Tenorio expects Barangay Ginebra to be in playoff level when the Kings try to solidify their hold of the no. 1 spot opposite Barako Bull in Sunday’s main game of the PLDT myDSL-PBA Philippine Cup at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
The Kings are coming off a weeklong respite after losing just for the second time this conference, 79-83, at the hands of sister team San Mig Super Coffee Mixers.
“We want to stay on top of the standings kaya itong game against Barako Bull will be very important for us,” admitted Tenorio, whose team goes up against the Energy at 5:30 p.m.
Barako Bull is currently tied for fifth to seventh places with idle Meralco and San Mig, all with 5-7 records.
“Lahat ng teams ngayon naka-playoff mode na kasi kung titingnan mo ngayon ang mga laro, dikit dikit halos ang mga teams sa standings. Siyempre, lahat gusto makapasok sa top eight,” said the Ginebra playmaker.
Japeth Aguilar is coming off a personal conference-high 26 points in Ginebra’s loss to San Mig, but was obviously outplayed inside by the Mixers’ biggies.
Rookie center Greg Slaughter, one of only four players to average in double-double this season, was also held down to just six rebounds by the Mixers.
“Sinasabi ko nga sa kanila (Ginebra’s big men) na playoff mode na dapat tayo. We can’t play the way we played last week. So dapat bumawi sila,” he added.
The Energy are no easy prey for the Kings, considering they are coming off a king-sized 92-88 upset of Petron on Wednesday.
“Early this week pa lang naghahanda na kami sa kanila (Barako Bull),” said Aguilar.
“Nahirapan kasi kami the last time. And I think they (Energy) can match up well against us dahil may mga malalaki din sila.”
Aguilar is obviously referring to Mick Pennisi and Dorian Pena, who finished with 18 points and 10 rebounds in the Energy’s steering win over the fancied Boosters.