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Cone wary of streaking NLEX

Games Wednesday:
(Smart Araneta Coliseum)

3 p.m. – TNT vs Converge

5:45 p.m. – NLEX vs Ginebra

Barangay Ginebra San Miguel faces a major test when it battles red-hot NLEX in the Philippine Basketball Association Governors’ Cup on Wednesday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

Action is set at 5:45 p.m. with the Kings determined to snap the Road Warriors’ four-game winning streak in the season-ending conference.

Also staking its winning run is Converge, which battles dangerous TNT Tropang Giga in the first game at 3 p.m.

Together idle with San Miguel Beer, both NLEX and Converge occupy the top spot with 4-0 win-loss record in the early stretch of the eliminations.

The Road Warriors’ early success makes it very dangerous and Ginebra mentor Tim Cone, the winningest coach in the league with 25 PBA titles, has every reason to get worried, knowing that their foes, who are being led by Frankie Lim, will go all out just to maintain their spot on the top of the team standings.

Interestingly, Lim played for Cone when he led Alaska to the title of the 1991 Third Conference.

“We’re facing NLEX and they’re playing extremely well under Coach Frankie Lim,” Cone said, admitting that Lim is doing a tremendous job entering his second conference with the Road Warriors.

“I tend to lose to my ex-players – Frankie, Jojo (Lastimosa). I have ex-players in the league and it scares the heck out of me.”

The Kings kicked off their title-retention campaign on a promising note, pulling off a 116-108 triumph over Rain or Shine despite a very limited preparation.

In fact, prior to facing the Elasto Painters, the Kings had only two practice sessions and are facing a very punishing schedule of three games in less than a week.

But more than that, it was Lim’s familiarity with his former coach – Cone – that makes the Road Warriors a force to be reckoned with in the encounter that is tipped to boil down to the last basket.

Cone stressed that another cause of concern is the presence of the Road Warriors’ new import in former National Basketball Association standout Wayne Selden.

“I understand that Wayne Selden is an absolute stud and I have friends in the States and watched him play, they think he is,” said Cone, referring to the 6-foot-4 reinforcement who played for four NBA teams before seeing action in countries like Israel, Italy and Turkey.

“He’s going to be a super, super import. They may not lose too much with this kid, Selden. He’s really good after playing three, four years in the NBA.”

The 28-year-old Selden last saw action in the Turkish League where he averaged 19.7 points and 4.3 rebounds per game.

Selden will come in to replace Jonathon Simmons, who made a huge impact in this conference but had to leave to fulfill his contractual obligations with his previous club in the Chinese Basketball Association, Shanxi Loongs.

Like NLEX, Converge also tries to protect its unblemished record when it takes on TNT.

The FiberXers made known their intention to become one of the league’s elite squads when it made it to the playoffs last conference.

Now, they are fixed on surpassing that feat with a very solid import in Jamaal Franklin powering the FiberXers to a league best 116 points per game with a winning margin of 15.25 points per outing.

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