THE PBA Governors’s Cup elimination phase is still in its most interesting stage with teams jockeying for position, but defending champion Barangay Ginebra is already in playoff mood.
In fact, the Gin Kings became the first team to clinch a quarterfinals berth after their 111-105 win over Meralco in an out-of-town game in Sta. Rosa, Laguna last Sunday.
But even with a 7-1 win-loss record and most of their main stars finally getting back from the injury list, Ginebra knows there is still no time to relax.
Ask coach Tim Cone.
“We still have long ways to go, in terms of positioning in the playoffs,” Cone told sportswriters during their much-awaited rematch against Meralco, the same team they beat in the finals of the past two editions of the season- ending tournament.
“We don’t want to get too happy,” added Cone in an interview published in the official PBA website.
But Cone himself acknowledged that the Gin Kings will surely benefit a lot from the return of his key players after missing some time due to injuries.
Cone said Greg Slaughter, Sol Mercado, Art de la Cruz and Joe de Vance are expected to be back in action when the Gin Kings take on Rain or Shine in another out-of-town game at the Quezon Convention Center in Lucena City this Saturday.
The Kings also also scheduled to meet Magnolia on Oct. 28 and Talk N Text on Nov. 4, both at the Araneta Coliseum.
“Coming into our last three games of the conference, we might be starting to have our guys back and get back to where our team was last conference in terms of personnel,” Cone said.
Slaughter, the 7-1 “Tower of Power” of Ginebra, has not played since early last month due to a sprained ankle.
Mercado underwent surgery on his meniscus while Dela Cruz is still out due to an injury in his Achilles tendon which he sustained last year.
Devance, who is also recovering from a stress fracture in his left foot, is also a probable starter on Oct. 13.
But even without the four players, Ginebra is doing well with several players, including Aljon Mariano and Prince Caperal, stepping up during crucial moments of the game.
“I’m happy that guys are stepping up and it’s been a fun ride for us so far,” sid Cone, adding that LA Tenorio and Scottie Thompson have also brought their usual A-games.