THE Barangay Ginebra Kings will try to take advantage of its second lease on life as it battles the Phoenix Super LPG Fuel Masters for the last ticket to the quarterfinals in the PBA Philippine Cup quarterfinals on Sept. 25 in Bacolor, Pampanga.
Tip-off is at 4:35 p.m. at the Don Honorio Ventura State University Gym with the Kings raring to snatch a win and book a playoff showdown against the top-seeded TNT Tropang Giga. TNT will hold a twice-to-beat advantage.
“We’ve been given an unexpected reprieve so we want to do our best and take advantage of it,” said Ginebra’s many-time champion coach, Tim Cone, in an article on the league’s official website, PBA.ph.
The Kings seemed out of the playoff race after the Fuel Masters beat them, 66-79, last Wednesday. However, NorthPort crushed Alaska, 122-94, in the second game on Wednesday, thus sending Phoenix and Ginebra to a winner-take-all match for the last spot in the quarterfinals after the two teams finished with identical 4-7 win-loss records.
“The No. 8 spot won’t be given to us. We have to earn it,” said Phoenix coach Topex Robinson.
Ginebra is currently battling injuries, with two starters out for the foreseeable future. Japeth Aguilar is recovering from an injured knee while Scottie Thompson is going through league-mandated health protocols. Despite being undermanned, Cone is confident his veteran squad can step up and rise to the challenge.
“The guys know the road is tough and has been tough but it starts with one step. That step starts tomorrow with our game against Phoenix,” said Cone.