PBA: Ginebra bringing back Joe Devance in crucial game vs Meralco


Posted at Feb 18 2018 02:54 AM | Updated as of Sep 23 2018 09:53 AM

Scottie Thompson and Barangay Ginebra face Meralco for the first time since their Governors' Cup title series in October. PBA Media Bureau

Barangay Ginebra and Meralco get to relive their rivalry on Sunday, albeit with lesser stakes on hand.

Ginebra tries to move up in the standings when it takes on a handicapped Meralco team that's just looking to avoid elimination.

Their first game against each other since the Governors' Cup finals will again be at Philippine Arena in Bulacan, site of 3 games that saw them break all-time attendance records.

Tipoff is at 6:45 p.m., following the 4:30 p.m. faceoff between NLEX and Blackwater.

"No doubt, it's been a struggle for both teams since meeting in the finals, but we're both playing better as of late," Ginebra coach Tim Cone said in a story posted on the PBA website.

"It's another do-or-die game for us, so we will go out and fight to stay alive."

Ginebra, tied with NLEX with identical 5-4 records, has won two straight and will welcome back Joe Devance, who had been rehabilitating his foot following surgery last year.

Meralco, second from bottom with a 3-6 record, has been thin up front, a problem against Cone and his crew.

Coach Norman Black said Cliff Hodge (knee) will be out. Jared Dillinger (foot) didn't play in Meralco's last game — a win over Phoenix — and Ranidel de Ocampo (calf) continues to miss time.

"My other bigs will have to step up and battle the huge frontline of Ginebra. Rebounding will be a key," Black said.

"Even with the win (against Phoenix), there's still a chance we'll not make it (to the next round). We have to give everything against Ginebra."

Meanwhile, NLEX and Blackwater (4-5) try to stretch their respective winning streaks in Sunday's first game.

NLEX has won 3 in a row, while Blackwater has picked up back-to-back wins.

"Meron pa naman kaming chance, meron pa kaming dalawang games," said Blackwater coach Leo Isaac, whose team is tied for seventh to ninth places with GlobalPort and Phoenix.

"On our own if we can handle it properly then we can avoid complications and outright papasok kami sa next stage of the tournament."

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