BARANGAY Ginebra seeks to lock up its Top Four berth and avoid complications as it takes on TNT KaTropa in the PBA Governors’ Cup on Saturday at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.
The Gin Kings are enjoying their perch atop the standings, sharing it with Meralco with eight wins in 10 games, but there’s a slim chance the defending champions can drop to as low as fifth spot, outside the magic circle of four teams that are going to be armed with twice-to-beat advantages in the quarterfinals.
That could happen if Ginebra loses to the Texters, who are currently sporting a 7-3 record, and if San Miguel Beer and NLEX dispatch their respective foes on Sunday, thus creating a five-way logjam at 8-3.
That scenario, plus the Gin Kings losing to the Texters by a “certain margin” according to chief statistician Fidel Mangonon III could doom Ginebra’ Top Four bid.
“It’s turning out to be a must win for us if we want to advance to the Top Four, so that makes this game crucial,” Gin Kings Tim Cone said on the eve of the matchup that tips off at 5:15 p.m. “TNT’s speed and quickness is always a tough matchup for us, so we’ll have to find some ways to slow them down.”
“Last game before the playoffs – it’s time for us to put our best foot forward,” he added, his team coming off an 89-82 win over Rain or Shine last Saturday.
Jayson Castro and wing import Glen Rice Jr., lead the Texters’ quick lineup that will try to make up for their lack of size against a Gin Kings frontline led by Greg Slaughter, Japeth Aguilar, and Joe Devance, not to mention do-it-all import Justin Brownlee.
“Ginebra has been playing really well, one of the top teams this conference,” TNT coach Nash Racela said after their 104-99 win over Star last Sunday. “This will be a test for us because Ginebra will be the tallest team.”
“We'll find ways again to counter whatever they will throw at us,” he added.
Rain or Shine, running sixth in a tie with Star at 6-4, is also looking for a spot in the Top Four as it takes on Blackwater (5-5) in the first game at 3 o’clock.