Back-to-wall Ginebra enter crucial stretch in PBA playoff chase

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Ginebra coach Tim Cone in the PBA Philippine Cup. –PBA IMAGES

LA Tenorio and Barangay Ginebra consider themselves blessed that the schedule bodes well for them in the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) Philippine Cup.

But another loss going into another stretch of two weekend games beginning on Friday against Blackwater at PhilSports Arena in Pasig City will put the Gin Kings in a situation where any schedule won’t be at an advantage.

“We have to have a sense of urgency going into the end of the conference,” Tenorio said after the Gin Kings dropped two in a row, including last Sunday at the hands of the Terrafirma Dyip.

That stinging result against the Dyip—who have beaten them for just the second time in history—sent the Kings to a 3-3 mark and left coach Tim Cone frustrated and searching for answers.

A visibly frustrated Cone immediately left Ninoy Aquino Stadium, usually a common practice he takes whenever he is displeased with the way his team played.

How Ginebra responds will be known in the 7:30 p.m. match against a Blackwater side also heading south after a 3-0 start was followed by a three-game slide.

How C-Stan responds

Perhaps the biggest question mark is how Christian Standhardinger responds to the benching he got from Cone for most of the second half when Ginebra was trying, and eventually failing to, cut Terrafirma’s lead.

Standhardinger scored 21 points in the first half but wasn’t on the floor in the fourth quarter.

“We have to take advantage of us playing in the weekend,” Tenorio said. “We got a great schedule because we usually play on Fridays and Sundays or even Saturdays. We have to take advantage of it because of the practice schedule and the time we have preparing for our games.”

Following Blackwater, Ginebra goes back to Ninoy Aquino for Sunday’s meeting with NorthPort, which on Wednesday dropped to 4-2 after a 104-97 loss to Magnolia.

Friday’s opener at 4:30 p.m. pits winless Converge and slumping Phoenix in a battle of two teams sitting at the bottom.

Saturday will have a unique doubleheader slated with Terrafirma and Rain or Shine squaring off at 3 p.m. in Caloocan City, the first time a regular PBA game is held in the northern portion of Metro Manila.

The 6:15 p.m. game has NLEX and TNT battling it out in the conference’s first provincial meeting in Candon, Ilocos Sur.



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Magnolia, which improved to 2-2 after defeating NorthPort, faces Phoenix in Sunday’s first game set 3 p.m. at Ninoy Aquino.





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