Coming off contrasting fortunes the last time out, NLEX and Barangay Ginebra square off on Wednesday with both eyeing victorious to the PBA Philippine Cup elimination round front-runner within striking distance at Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay.
The match is set at 6 p.m. as the Road Warriors seek a follow-up to a thrilling 90-89 victory over defending champion TNT last week and stay within the coattails of the unbeaten San Miguel Beermen.
Ginebra, meanwhile, is still licking the wounds of its first loss of the season, an 89-84 decision at the hands of sister team Magnolia that sent the Gin Kings to a four-way tie for second counting the Road Warriors, Meralco and surprising Blackwater.
That Ginebra loss was the fourth straight in the Kings’ box-office hit rivalry with the Hotshots.
“We just didn’t play with a lot of focus nor did we match their [Hotshots’] energy all-game long,” Ginebra coach Tim Cone told reporters after the defeat.
And that’s what Cone would need to address as he tries to get his team near 100-percent game shape before the second half of the elimination round comes along.
Meanwhile, Calvin Abueva was fined P10,000 and suspended for the next Magnolia game for his outburst during the Hotshots’ win last Sunday.
He will be out of the lineup when Magnolia, a pretournament favorite seeking to chase the leaders, battles Phoenix on Friday.
Abueva was ejected for a second technical foul early in the fourth quarter and walked out of the venue after changing into street clothes. He also reportedly uttered some words detrimental to the interests of the PBA while on the way out before challenging the league in a since-deleted Instagram post. INQ
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