by Jonas Terrado
Games Today (Mall of Asia Arena)
4:30 p.m. – NLEX vs Columbian
6:45 p.m. – NorthPort vs Ginebra
Unbeaten NorthPort faces its first acid test as it battles defending champion Barangay Ginebra San Miguel today in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup at the Mall of Asia Arena.
The Batang Pier go for their fourth straight win in the 6:45 p.m. game of the Petron Saturday Special against a Ginebra side that made a stunning move by signing veteran Jared Dillinger.
Dillinger was taken by Ginebra after being left in the unrestricted free agent list by Meralco, his team since 2013. The No. 1 pick of the 2008 draft was even placed on the active list in lieu of Julian Sargent.
His addition comes timely for Ginebra, which is in need of a veteran presence after Jeff Chan sustained a serious ankle injury against Blackwater last week.
NorthPort is hoping to keep its hot form after starting the midseason conference with victories over Alaska, NLEX and TNT KaTropa by an average of over 16 points.
Its latest win came last Wednesday when NorthPort drubbed TNT KaTropa, 110-86, with import Terrence Jones held to 17 points after back-to-back games of at least 40.
Import Prince Ibeh, Stanley Pringle, Sean Anthony and Mo Tautuaa lead the Batang Pier against a Ginebra side powered by resident import Justin Brownlee, LA Tenorio, Greg Slaughter, Japeth Aguilar and Scottie Thompson.
Ginebra is coming off a 110-95 romp of Meralco last Sunday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Pringle returned from a two-game absence to rest his right foot and scored 22 points against TNT. But last season’s runner-up for the MVP is hoping to get a better rhythm this time.
NLEX and Columbian shoot for their first victory as they clash in the opener at 4:30 p.m.
Both teams lost their first three games and another defeat leave them pushing the panic button.
The Road Warriors will play their second straight game without coach Yeng Guiao, who is currently in Europe for a family vacation.