Make or break games
By JONAS TERRADO
(Smart Araneta Coliseum)
4:30 p.m. – Phoenix vs GlobalPort
7 p.m. – Columbian vs Ginebra
Jeff Chan will make his Barangay Ginebra San Miguel debut tonight in a crucial match against the up-and-down Columbian Dyip in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Chan hopes to provide an immediate impact for his new team in the 7 p.m. match that will make or break the quarterfinals bids of both Ginebra and Columbian in the midseason conference.
Phoenix, on the other hand, begins its new life without Chan while hoping to snap a four-game skid in the 4:30 p.m. opener against GlobalPort, a team coming off a stunning win over defending champion San Miguel last week.
Ginebra acquired Chan from Phoenix in exchange for this year’s first round draft pick, giving coach Tim Cone an added depth in his rotation.
Cone believes the former national team mainstay’s addition will provide plenty of opportunities for Ginebra, which is eyeing a third straight victory after a 1-5 start.
His arrival comes at a perfect timing for Ginebra, whose confidence is on a high after Sunday’s 104-84 rout of Magnolia at the Big Dome.
But Ginebra can’t be too comfortable with its current form as it will meet a Columbian side that despite absorbing several lopsided defeats has managed to find ways to stay in the playoff hunt.
In fact, Columbian is tied with Magnolia for seventh at 4-5, half-game behind Ginebra which totes a 3-5 slate.
“We played our best game of the conference, but we gotta play our best game of the conference next game too,” said Cone.
Import Justin Brownlee, who fired 36 points against Magnolia, LA Tenorio, Greg Slaughter, Japeth Aguilar and Sol Mercado are expected to join hands with Chan in Ginebra’s bid to extend its streak.
Columbian coach Ricky Dandan will try to counter it with import John Fields leading the charge for the Dyip.
Meanwhile, GlobalPort tries to build on its 98-94 upset of San Miguel and close in on a quarterfinals berth against Phoenix. The Batang Pier are tied for fifth with the Beermen at 4-4 while the Fuel Masters are in 10th position at 3-6.