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Batang Pier meet Gin Kings

Jamie Malonzo and Barangay Ginebra pose serious threats to NorthPort’s quest to advance deeper in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup. | Photograph COURTESY OF PBA

Games today:

(Smart Araneta Coliseum)

3 p.m. — Terrafirma vs San Miguel

6:30 p.m. — NorthPort vs Ginebra


Barely two days after securing an outright quarterfinals berth, NorthPort shoots for an all-important win against Barangay Ginebra, which could give the team a legitimate shot of securing a possible top four berth in the Philippine Basketball Association Commissioner’s Cup.

The Batang Pier and the Gin Kings clash in the main game at 6:30 p.m. right after the match between San Miguel Beer and Terrafirma at 3 p.m. at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

A win by the Batang Pier would allow them to finish their elimination round campaign with a 7-4 win-loss record.

And in case the Beermen and the Gin Kings end up with the same card by the end of the elimination round, NorthPort will secure a top four berth that bears a twice-to-beat advantage.

This also puts pressure on San Miguel to win against Terrafirma, which is already out of the running for the playoffs.

But Bonnie Tan and his troops will need to regroup and bring their A-game against the Gin Kings

“It’s a must win for us,” Tan said. “This is the only game that matters for us right now as this is our last game of the elimination round.”

Tan wants to secure a win regardless of where it would take the team.

For the Gin Kings, it’s all about building a winning run leading to the playoffs.

They’re coming off back-to-back victories before the end of last year, including an 86-78 win over TNT on Christmas Day.

Ginebra coach Tim Cone is not concerned about the streak, but rather the bigger prize at stake: A top four berth.

“More important for us is to get to the top four,” wrote Cone in a Viber message to DAILY TRIBUNE.

The Gin Kings are the defending champions of the tournament and Tan believes there’s no better way to end the elimination round than to beat the league’s most popular team as this victory would determine how far  his team could go.

“If we lose Sunday, we’re going to be facing a tougher team, so if we want to play a team which we feel is beatable, we have to win on Sunday,” Tan added.

NorthPort had proven itself to be one solid squad this season as evidenced by the Batang Pier’s 115-101 win over San Miguel a month ago in a game they won without their injured import Venky Jois.

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