Gin Kings, Bolts lock horns tonight; Elastopainters test Batang Pier

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It’s going to be another slam-bang doubleheader tonight at the Philippine Cup, the lone conference of the Philippine Basketball Association’s (PBA) 45th Season, currently underway at the Angeles University Foundation Sports Arena in Angeles, Pampanga.

It will be a virtual rematch between Barangay Ginebra San Miguel and perennial rival Meralco Bolts during the main setto at 6:45 p.m., where Ginebra is looking for its third win. The two teams last met during the finals of the PBA Governors Cup, which the Gin Kings won, 4-1.

Meanwhile, the Rain or Shine Elastopainters is also looking to book its third triumph and join TNT Tropang Giga atop the standings as it faces winless Northport Batang Pier at 4 p.m.

After booking two wins over the NLEX Road Warriors and the rejuvenated Blackwater Elite, coach Tim Cone admitted they’re bound to get better as they await two of the team’s vital cogs, LA Tenorio and Japeth Aguilar, to be in peak form.

Good thing that old reliables Stanley Pringle, Scottie Thompson, Jeff Chan and Joe Devance remained steady, while Prince Caperal, who is now starting center for the Gin Kings in the absence of Greg Slaughter, and Aljon Mariano, flashed deadly form to show that they can be relied on, even winning Player of the Game honors.

Rain or Shine is also enjoying a fine start as it thwarted defending champion San Miguel Beer and demolished Terrafirma (formerly Columbian Dyip).

Meralco, for its part, is looking at how to further improve its game in the bubble. The Bolts won over Alaska last Wednesday after dropping its first game against Phoenix Super LPG.

It will also be the first time for Bolts center Raymond Almazan to play healthy against Ginebra after injuring his knee during the last Governors Cup finals. This time, Almazan is bolted in and is eager to play, according to Bolts coach Norman Black.

For Rain or Shine, good thing that the team’s young guns, Javee Mocon and Rey Nambatac are showing the stuff they are made of,

Together with the solid plays of Gabe Norwood and Beau Belga, coach Caloy Garcia’s boys are having the time of their lives as a still off-form James Yap has yet to solidly contribute to the team’s cause.

For the Batang Pier, the rest of the team should continue to find ways how to provide able support to bull-strong Christian Standhardinger and “Mr. Consistent” Sean Anthony in order to pick up that elusive first win.

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