Barangay Ginebra doesn’t see defending five-time champion San Miguel Beer’s current slump as an advantage as the two teams meet in another high-profile duel on Sunday in the PBA Philippine Cup at the Angeles University Foundation Sports and Cultural Center.
Ginebra goes for an eighth win in 10 games and the first twice-to-beat advantage in the 6:45 p.m. match against a Beermen side dealing with an alarming situation of having dropped its last two games.
The Ginebra-SMB showdown caps off the league’s fourth quadrupleheader in the last six days. Rain or Shine (4-4) battles Blackwater (2-6) in the 10 a.m. opener, Meralco (5-4) plays Terrafirma (1-7) at 1 p.m. and Magnolia (6-4) takes on NorthPort (1-7) at 4 p.m.
Magnolia and Rain or Shine return to action after their game Saturday which saw the Hotshots winning 70-62, while Meralco is determined to make a quick recovery from a 92-79 loss to TNT.
Ginebra is on a roll following three consecutive victories, including Friday’s 85-79 win over TNT that enabled them to grab the top spot in the standings.
SMB, on the other hand, is in a precarious situation after dropping the last two games marred by a disappointing 124-90 defeat to NLEX also last Friday.
While the contrasting fortunes already gives Ginebra the edge, coach Tim Cone said he and his team can’t be fooled by that impression.
“I can’t think of the worst time to play them after they got beat badly by another opponent. That’s absolutely the worst time to play San Miguel,” said Cone.
“We’re not looking forward to it. But it’s a challenge and we’re gonna try to take it on.”
Once again the player to watch for Ginebra is Stanley Pringle, who scored 28 points and 12 rebounds against TNT in another sterling performance.
Pringle is averaging 20.6 points, 6.9 rebounds and 3.3 assists in nine games this conference to emerge as one of the best players of the season.
Beating Ginebra will be more important than ever for SMB, which has a 5-4 record for a share of fifth to seventh places with Magnolia and Meralco.