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Barangay Ginebra braces for rough quarterfinals edge ride

Games Friday(PhilSports Arena)3 p.m. — Blackwater vs Rain or Shine5:45 p.m. — Ginebra vs NLEX

Barangay Ginebra braces for a rough ride as it traverses the road to the coveted quarterfinal incentive in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup.

Sitting third behind Bay Area (10-2) and Magnolia (8-2), the rampaging Gin Kings can climb their way to the Top 2 or even No. 1 but have to go through NLEX (3-7), NorthPort (5-5) and Converge (8-3) in a six-day span to pull through.

“We’ve got a tough road ahead of us but we control our own destiny,” said Ginebra coach Tim Cone on the eve of the opener of that killer schedule today against the No. 11 Road Warriors at the PhilSports Arena.

The crowd darlings put themselves in striking position with a bland 89-85 win over import-less and injury-hit TNT last Sunday. This extended their streak to five matches but gave Mr. Cone a bit of unease going to the stretch of the eliminations.

“I’m happy with the result but we got to be a little worried that TNT ripped us apart the way they did,” he said, referring to the game where Ginebra blew a 17-point lead and even trailed the Tropang Giga by four going to the last eight minutes.

The Gin Kings face an NLEX crew hungry to snap a five-game slump and keep their slim playoffs hopes alive in the 5:45 p.m. duel.

Mr. Cone pits coaching skills with Frankie Lim, who skippered his old Alaska team in the 1990s.

“He was my team captain with Alaska for like four years, he knows me really well. So looking forward to this matchup and seeing Frankie (Lim) again,” said the Ginebra mentor.

Meanwhile, ninth-running Rain or Shine (4-6) seeks to get back at the Magic 8 in the 3 p.m. curtain raiser against No. 12 Blackwater (3-8).

If they can score the two-game-skid-arresting win, the Elasto Painters will overtake idle Meralco (4-5) at No. 8 and match the 5-6 card of seventh-running Phoenix (5-6).

For their part, the Bossing are determined to put an end to a harrowing losing spell in their last five outings. — Olmin Leyba

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