Ginebra eyes crucial victory against bitter rival Meralco

CROWD-FAVORITE Barangay Ginebra San Miguel shoots for a bounce back win as the Gin Kings face bitter rival Meralco Bolts on Wednesday in the Philippine Basketball Association Philippine Cup at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

At six wins and two losses for the No. 2 spot, the Gin Kings try to add separation from TNT Tropang Giga (8-3), Blackwater (5-2) and Magnolia (5-3) when they play the Bolts—who are hoping to get closer to a slot in the eight-team quarterfinals—at 6 p.m.

“It’s going to be tough knowing we’re playing our third game in a week while Meralco took a week’s rest, but we have to learn our lesson in our last game,” Ginebra assistant coach Richard del Rosario told BusinessMirror, referring to Ginebra’s 92-106 loss to defending champion TNT Tropang Giga last Sunday.

San Miguel Beer is alone on top with an 8-1 record highlighted by a five-game winning streak.

“We have to defend better and win our three remaining games if we still want to get one of the two twice-to-beat incentives,” said del Rosario, whose team faces NorthPort and Phoenix Super LPG after Meralco. “If we lose one of those, it will be difficult to get a bonus.”

Ginebra head coach Tim Cone is still in Las Vegas attending the National Basketball Association Summer League as part of Erik Spoelstra’s coaching staff for the Miami Heat.

Meralco is at sixth spot with a 4-3 card.

Coach Norman Black is also still in Maryland attending to his ailing 85-year-old mother Bessie. Either of Black’s assistants, Ronnie Magsanoc or Luigi Trillo, will call the coaching shot against Ginebra.

Blackwater, meanwhile, tries to recover from a narrow defeat to San Miguel Beer last Sunday as it takes on Rain or Shine in the first game at 3 p.m.

The Bossing are 5-2 win-loss record at fourth place while the Elasto Painters are in a must win situation at 2-6.

The Bossing’s magical four-game winning ride ended with a 107-110 loss to the Beermen in overtime last Sunday.