THREE of the four teams eyeing a top four slot in the PBA Governors Cup quarterfinals face big hurdles when they see action today at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Two of them, TNT and Ginebra, clash at 7 p.m. while the third, Meralco battles Columbian at 4:30.
Aside from taking over top spot from idle NLEX, the KaTropa are also going for a top four finish in the eliminations that carries with it a twice-to-beat advantage in the next round as well as aching to see how they play with new acquisitions Bobby Ray Parks and Mike Digregorio.
Especially Parks, Blackwater’s erstwhile top scorer who was acquired for Don Trollano, Anthony Semerad and a future draft pick only last week.
“Excited to see how we play,” said TNT coach Bong Ravena. “Ray is going to be good for us, but it’s more about how we play as a team. We gave up a lot, but we’re very fortunate to get Ray.”
Parks came in after the KaTropa got waylaid by the Road Warriors 113-126 last Oct. 25, cutting short TNT’s unbeaten start to seven games.
“We have won so many games the last three conferences that it is human nature for complacency to start setting in. We have to go back to being the team that outhustles our opponent,” said Ravena.
Ginebra is also coming off a bad loss, a 77-101 drubbing from Meralco last Sunday and should want nothing less than to get back on a top four track.
That loss, coupled with San Miguel Beer’s 99-96 overtime win over Blackwater last Wednesday, relegated the Kings to fifth, just half-a-game ahead of Magnolia, which notched a 97-81 win over Phoenix Pulse later Wednesday.
“It’s a challenge for both of us since we’re both coming from a loss,” Ravena said. “We should stay focused and play as a team.”
That win by the Bolts put them at third and they should cement that position should they prevail over the Dyip.
Meralco coach Norman Black knows Columbian comes with its own motivation.
“It’s certainly a game we can’t take for granted,” said Black. “Columbian is battling for a playoff spot and they have a very good import in (Khapri) Alston. We will have to try and keep him off the offensive boards.”
Should Columbian pull off an upset, the Dyip would least play off for the last quarterfinals spot and could even automatically make it among the eight teams advancing with another win against Ginebra on Nov. 15.
Getting the job done right now is what coach Johnedel Cardel wants from his charges. “A lot depende sa outcomes ng natitirang ibang games. Pero para mas sigurado kailangan manalo,” said Cardel, whose team has not made past the eliminations in his previous three conferences at the helm.