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Gin Kings and Hotshots launch Commissioner’s Cup auction

BARANGAY Ginebra Head Coach Tim Cone draws their game. — PBA MEDIA

games today
(MOA Arena)
3:00 p.m. — Magnolia vs. Terrafirma
5:45 p.m. – Ginebra against rain or shine

TWO heavyweights – Magnolia and Barangay Ginebra – are taking turns launching their respective bids as the PBA Commissioner’s Cup resumes today at the MOA Arena after an enforced break last Sunday.

The Hotshots, semi-finalists of the last Philippine Cup, parade making their debut with Serbian-American Nikola Rakocevic as they shoot for a winning start in their 15-hour bout with Lester Prosper and Terrafirma.

The Gin Kings release resident import Justin Brownlee again as they attempt to use the 5:45 p.m. tiff with Yeng Guiao’s Rain or Shine as a launchpad for their quest for the mid-season tournament.

Crowd darlings were supposed to open their campaign and test their slightly modified slate of trade acquisitions Jamie Malonzo and Von Pessumal and leftovers Japeth Aguilar, Scottie Thompson, LA Tenorio and Christian Standhardinger last Sunday against Converge. But the league postponed this match, as well as the duel between Meralco and NLEX, due to Super Typhoon Karding.

Ginebra and Magnolia watch the 1-0 cards against opponents eager to bounce back from their early losses.

The Elasto Painters failed to give Mr Guiao a perfect welcome gift and lost to his former team NLEX last Friday, 96-90, making the Steve Taylor-boosted team even more determined to reclaim the W for him this time.

Ginebra’s mentor Tim Cone noted “it’s always difficult to play on Coach Yeng’s teams” and instructed his proteges to be mentally tough against his current gang.

Magnolia, meanwhile, faces a Terrafirma side reeling from their 124-110 loss to the FiberXers last Friday, which extended their slippage to 17 games in total since the Philippine Cup 2020.

Hotshots tactician Chito Victolero warns his troops not to be lulled into their opponent’s dire situation.

“I told my players it’s a dangerous game, it will be tough for us,” said Victolero. “Kung pagbabasehan iyung Convergence game nila, baka mag-kumpyansa kami. But it’s a different game, a different day. We have to play Magnolia Hotshots basketball.

Terrafirma-imported balik Prosper should be a major target for Magnolia’s defense, especially after his 43-point, 25-rebound game last time out against Converge.

Magnolia may also have to step in in case striker Calvin Abueva is unavailable. The jack of all trades is listed as a ‘play caller’ due to an unspecified injury on the eve of the Hotshots’ tournament debut. — Olmin Leyba