(Smart Araneta Coliseum)
4:15 p.m. – Phoenix vs San Miguel
7 p.m. – Globalport vs Ginebra
Coach Tim Cone is bracing for a difficult battle with the underdog Globalport Batang Pier tonight as Barangay Ginebra San Miguel seeks a semifinals berth to highlight the start of the quarterfinal round in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Top seed Ginebra looks to qualify for the last four on its first attempt in the 7 p.m. match with Globalport, which secured the last quarterfinals berth following a thrilling 107-106 victory over Alaska in Sunday’s do-or-die playoff at the Mall of Asia Arena.
Cone, who tries to make the semifinals for the third straight time since taking over the league’s most popular ballclub in 2015, hopes to hurdle Globalport’s main weapons – import Justin Harper, Stanley Pringle and deadly scorer Terrence Romeo – despite the luxury of having a twice-to-beat advantage.
Romeo was the hero of Sunday’s playoff when he knocked down a three-point shot in the dying seconds that put the Batang Pier ahead for good.
“Globalport has the ability to make tough shots at big moments and that makes them incredibly dangerous down the stretch of games,” Cone said. “Harper (has the) ability to shoot and spread the floor for Pringle, and Romeo causes problems for defenses. No doubt, we’re in for a battle.”
The Batang Pier caught the last bus in the quarters by winning three of their last four games after going 2-6 early last month. Coach Franz Pumaren hopes to come up with a good gameplan to force a do-or-die match against its favored foe.
“I think Ginebra is really peaking right now, their team has been there for the longest time, while us, we’re still in the process of trying to feel each other,” Pumaren said, referring to the team’s participation in a four-team trade with NLEX, TNT KaTropa and Meralco that netted them Sean Anthony, Bradwyn Guinto and Jonathan Grey.
“Hopefully we can match up. Hopefully we can pull through. It’s hard playing the best team, but it’s nice playing against Tim Cone. We will learn a lot.”
Also seeking a short route to the semis is San Miguel, the second-ranked team of the eliminations. The Beermen play the No. 7 Phoenix Fuel Masters, who are hoping to end their cold streak at the most important part of the tournament in the 4:15 p.m. opener.