Games Today (Smart Araneta Coliseum)
4:30 p.m. – Meralco vs GlobalPort
6:45 p.m. – San Miguel vs Ginebra
Struggling Ginebra faces Beermen today.
Defending champion San Miguel and Barangay Ginebra San Miguel meet tonight in the PBA Philippine Cup at the Smart Araneta Coliseum but the potential finals preview could be overshadowed by the likely absence of 7-foot center Greg Slaughter.
The 7-foot center has missed the last two games with a hamstring injury, co-inciding with Ginebra’s disappointing run of three straight defeats going into the 6:45 p.m. match with the Beermen, the league’s only unbeaten team with five consecutive victories.
Ginebra coach Tim Cone hinted the possibility of resting Slaughter but that would depend on what transpired in yesterday’s practice.
“I don’t think it’s prudent for us to make him go out there and play when he’s out of shape, especially against a June Mar (Fajardo),” Cone said after Ginebra’s 87-82 loss to Phoenix two nights ago at the Big Dome.
“So we’re gonna have to think long and hard if we’re gonna play him. But at least if he’s coming to practice (yesterday), it means he’s gonna be available soon barring any setbacks,” added Cone.
Ginebra’s struggles after a 2-0 start has been evident not only with the absence of Slaughter but also Joe Devance, who is still recovering from offseason foot surgery. Sol Mercado has yet to get back in form after coming back from hurting his ankle in last season’s Governors’ Cup finals.
What Cone can hope is for the rest of the crew to step up, namely Scottie Thompson, LA Tenorio, Kevin Ferrer, Japeth Aguilar, Jervy Cruz and Aljon Mariano.
“Obviously Greg is centric to what we do but we need other guys to step up,” Cone said. “It can’t just be LA or Scottie doing all the work out there. We need other guys doing the work.”
While Cone worries about the Ginebra roster, San Miguel counterpart Leo Austria is probably gaining some confidence with his.
The Beermen have kept their winning form not only because of the superb plays of Fajardo, Chris Ross, Marcio Lassiter, Arwind Santos but also the bench players led by Brian Heruela, Matt Ganuelas-Rosser and Von Pessumal.
Heruela scored 17 points while Ganuelas-Rosser had 10 points and 12 rebounds in the Beermen’s 107-93 triumph over the GlobalPort Batang Pier.
But the Beermen are also dealing with an injury of their own in Alex Cabagnot, expected to be out at least 3-4 weeks because of a plantar fasciitis on his foot.
Serving as an appetizer for the Beermen-Kings clash is the 4:30 p.m. match between GlobalPort and Meralco, two teams sharing identical 2-3 slates. A victory would move either team at the middle of the pack.