(Ynares Center, Antipolo City)
4:15 p.m. -- Globalport vs. Blackwater
7 p.m. -- Ginebra vs. Phoenix Fuels
IT’S like going into the war with a diminished weaponry.
That seems to be the case now for Barangay Ginebra which is likely to go into the playoff round without its main man in Greg Slaughter due to ACL injury.
“Losing Greg (Slaughter) at this point has been devastating to the team, and of course to him,” said Ginebra coach Tim Cone in a text message yesterday, a day after doctors released their findings on the slotman’s injury he sustained during the Kings’ encounter with Mahindra last Friday.
The Gin Kings have already secured a twice-to-beat advantage in the quarterfinals with their 7-2 win-loss slate, although they still have to complete their elimination assignment, including against Phoenix Fuels today and against Talk ‘N Text on Sunday.
The Gin Kings are in their finest form after a long while, and with or without Slaughter, they remain a team that cannot be taken for granted, at least if you ask Phoenix coach Ariel Vanguardia who said it is Cone’s system that’s working wonders for the league’s most popular ballclub.
Vanguardia stressed the Kings have become a lot more disciplined than they were under previous coaches who handled them.
“We have to be ready. Brownlee fits them very well,” added Vanguardia, referring to Gin Kings import Justin Brownlee.
The Gin Kings and the Fuel Masters collide in the 7 p.m. main tussle of another double-header that will also see Globalport and Blackwater play each other at 4:15 p.m. in a game between cellar-hogging teams.
The Fuel Masters are sporting a 5-5 win-loss slate in a tie with Alaska and NLEX for 6th to 8th places, which means their meeting against the Gin Kings is so crucial in their bid to make the magic ‘8’.
Eight teams will advance to the quarterfinal round, and the last three playing dates (including today) still carry much bearing for the three to four teams fighting for inclusion in the next round.
Interestingly, Rain or Shine isn’t within the magic 8 with its 4-6 record, although the Painters could still force a playoff if they beat the Star Hotshots on Friday.
The quotient system will be used to resolve the ties.