(Smart Araneta Coliseum)
4:15 p.m. -- Mahindra vs. Phoenix
7 p.m. -- Star Hotshots vs. NLEX
TWO coaches with contrasting fates in their budding careers will be the main focus today as their teams collide in the PBA Governors’ Cup at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
These are Chris Gavina whose Mahindra is currently in a joint leadership with another team and Ariel Vanguardia whose Phoenix Fuel team is left stranded near the bottom of the standings.
The Enforcers and the Fuel Masters meet in the 4:15 p.m. opening tussle of a double-header that will also see Star Hotshots and NLEX taking on each other in the 7 p.m. main offering at the Big Dome.
Both Gavina and Vanguardia took over the reins only this conference to replace Chito Victolero and Koy Banal, respectively.
The two, however, are on opposite ends as far as their teams’ showing this early in the elimination is concerned.
The Enforcers have won their first four outings, and in the course of the streak, they have defeated San Miguel Beer and Alaska -- two teams that were frequently in the playoffs in the past conferences.
When Mahindra defeated Alaska last Aug. 3 (101-95), Gavina described the Enforcers as resilient, responding to his call to withstand no matter what the test was that night.
“Our guys were purely resilient tonight. We came out timid. We played at their pace which is kinda’ frantic. And our guys responded tremendously,” said Gavina, while issuing kind words for Keith Agovida.
“He was my magic hugot tonight. His teammates are motivating him to attack. Coming into this conference we just want to be extremely well prepared, have our skills honed for any kind of environment we’re gonna face,” added Gavina.
The Fuel Masters, on the other hand, couldn’t seem to find ways to win despite showing good account every game.
Meanwhile, San Miguel gets back one of its MVPs in the team’s regular roster just in time for the Beermen’s big showdown against Barangay Ginebra on Sunday.
Versatile forward Arwind Santos was reactivated from the injury list after missing the team’s first four games in the season-ending conference following an arthroscopic surgery on his knee.