PBA: As Ginebra aspires for 1st place, struggling teams fight for survival


Posted at Sep 08 2017 04:54 AM

Scottie Thompson and Barangay Ginebra are looking for win No. 7 in 8 games. PBA Media Bureau

Barangay Ginebra tries to keep its shaky hold of the lead in the PBA Governors’ Cup standings when the defending champions take on Blackwater at Mall of Asia Arena on Friday.

Game time is at 7 p.m., after Alaska locks horns with GlobalPort in the 4:15 p.m. opener.

Ginebra and Blackwater engaged in a trade last week, with Chris Ellis and Dave Marcelo moving to Blackwater and Ginebra getting Art dela Cruz and Raymund Aguilar in return.

But neither Ellis nor dela Cruz -- the key pieces in that deal -- will likely be playing in the matchup. Ellis is out because of cramps, according to Spin.ph, while dela Cruz is being eased back into the lineup as he recovers from a ruptured Achilles tendon that he sustained in March.

Being undermanned hasn’t stopped Blackwater from putting together an impressive run that has seen the Elite win 3 of their last 4 games.

In it last outing, Blackwater crushed last-place Kia 118-96 behind Henry Walker’s 25 points, 11 rebounds, 7 assists and 4 3-pointers. The victory evened its record to 4-4, good for 8th place in the standings and half a game out of the outright-elimination zone.

From winless Kia to league leader Ginebra, Blackwater needs to pick up where it left off from long distance if it hopes to have a shot at beating Team #NSD. Against Kia, the Elite shot a remarkable 48% from 3-point territory on 19-of-39 shooting.

After winning its first 5 games in convincing fashion, Ginebra (6-1) was tested in its last game against Star, needing overtime to come away with a 105-101 win.

In the second game, GlobalPort (3-4) and Alaska (1-6) are in must-win mode with 4 more games each in their schedule.

Alaska broke a 5-month-long slump with an upset of Grand Slam-seeking San Miguel Beer on Saturday. The Aces essentially need to win their remaining games to have a shot of advancing to the playoffs.

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