By Michael Angelo S. Murillo, Senior Reporter
PACE-SETTING Barangay Ginebra San Miguel Kings and TNT Tropang Giga battle one another today for solo leadership in the PBA Philippine Cup.
Set for 6:45 p.m. at the Angeles University Foundation Arena in Pampanga, the Kings and Tropang Giga, joint leaders with identical 6-2 records in the ongoing Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) tournament, are out to solidify their hold of the top spot in the final week of the elimination round.
Barangay Ginebra enters the contest riding back-to-back victories after dropping their two previous matches.
Its latest win came on Wednesday over the Northport Batang Pier, 112-110.
The Kings showcased their depth in outlasting the Batang Pier, with eight players scoring in double digits.
Guard Stanley Pringle led the way for Barangay Ginebra with 17 points to go along with eight rebounds.
Aljon Mariano had 15 points, followed by LA Tenorio and Japeth Aguilar with 13 and Joe Devance with 12.
Prince Caperal and Scottie Thompson each had 11 points with the latter adding eight assists and six rebounds.
Jeff Chan was the other Kings player in double-digit scoring with 10 markers.
Given his team’s performance, Barangay Ginebra coach Tim Cone could not help but give praise to his wards, especially since the win came just a day after they labored to an 87-81 win over the Alaska Aces.
“I’m really proud of our guys for the effort they gave tonight and for all the, you know, they didn’t get frustrated, they showed a lot of character playing tonight,” said Mr. Cone in the post-game press conference.
Looking to halt the streak of the Kings while padding their own cause and steadying their ship are the Tropang Giga.
After winning five straight in the PBA tournament “bubble” in Clark City, TNT has lost two of three matches, including its last one against the Magnolia Hotshots Pambansang Manok, 102-92, on Wednesday.
Ray Parks Jr. leads the thrust of the Tropang Giga with norms of 22.6 points, 7.3 rebounds and 3.3 assists, followed by Roger Pogoy with 19.9 points and 5.5 rebounds.
Veteran Jayson Castro has his minutes being managed by the team, but is still effective for 17.6 points and 5.7 assists while Troy Rosario has been steady for 13 points and 8.9 rebounds.
Offseason acquisitions JP Erram (12.8 ppg and 8 rpg) and Simon Enciso (8 ppg) are also proving themselves to be valuable pieces in the rotation of TNT.
The Tropang Giga are one of the tournament favorites, something they hope to live up to and use as a platform to end seven years of PBA All-Filipino title drought.
The Barangay Ginebra-TNT clash is part of another quadruple-header offering by the PBA for Friday.
Other matches feature the Blackwater Elite (2-5) against Terrafirma Dyip (0-7) at 10 a.m., Alaska Aces (5-4) versus Northport (1-6) at 1 p.m., and NLEX Road Warriors (3-5) vs. San Miguel Beermen (5-2) at 4 p.m.
Quadruple-headers are also slated on Nov. 8, and 11 so as to finish the elimination round on time in the compressed tournament setup of the PBA brought about by the coronavirus pandemic.