PBA: Winless Mahindra tests newfound resolve against Ginebra


Posted at Dec 15 2016 11:52 PM

Alex Mallari needs to play big again if Mahindra wants to break into the win column. Photo courtesy of the PBA Media Bureau

Mahindra coach Chris Gavina thinks his team improved significantly in its last game, despite not coming away with a victory.

On Friday, the Floodbuster look to translate that leap into a much-needed W.

Mahindra goes up against Barangay Ginebra in the PBA Philippine Cup at 7 p.m. at the Araneta Coliseum, after Talk N Text takes on Phoenix at 4:15 p.m.

PBA Philippine Cup standings
Team Won Lost Next game
GlobalPort 3 1 Bkw (Dec. 21)
Rain or Shine 3 1 Star (Dec. 18)
San Miguel Beer 3 1 NLEX (Dec. 17)
Blackwater 3 2 Gpt (Dec. 21)
Alaska 2 2 Gin (Dec. 18)
Meralco 2 2 Phx (Dec. 21)
Phoenix 2 2 TNT (Dec. 16)
Talk N Text 2 2 Phx (Dec. 16)
Star 2 2 RoS (Dec. 18)
Ginebra 1 2 Mah (Dec. 16)
NLEX 1 3 SMB (Dec. 17)
Mahindra 0 4 (Dec. 16)
~Standings updated after Dec. 14, Wednesday games

That first win remains elusive for Gavina and his crew, which has lost four straight to open the season, three of those by double-digit margins.

But a close loss to San Miguel on Sunday has given Mahindra confidence as it prepares for Ginebra.

"This is definitely a moral victory," Gavina said of the 94-91 loss to the defending champion Beermen.

"For me, this is the first game that we looked like a team. In the past three games, we just looked like just a bunch of individuals out there. Tonight, guys looked like they were caring for each other, backing each other up, and it showed."

Mahindra needs to play that way against the Governors' Cup champions.

Ginebra has had an uneven start to the season and coach Tim Cone points to the team's tendency to play individually.

"Our ball movement was gone, we’re not sharing the ball," said Japeth Aguilar, whose 23-point, eight-rebound effort couldn't tow Ginebra to victory.

Besides Aguilar and LA Tenorio, who also had 23 points, no other Ginebra player scored more than 10 points.

Alex Mallari, who has averaged 20 points in Mahindra's last two games, should play a key role for Gavina against Ginebra, as is Joseph Eriobu.

Phoenix coach Ariel Vanguardia doesn't want to be embarrassed again when the Fuel Masters play the Talk N Text Ka Tropa on Friday.

In the first game, Phoenix looks to regroup after suffering a 44-point shellacking in its last outing to Star, a defeat which coach Ariel Vanguardia attributed to a lack of urgency. 

"We should be ashamed of ourselves, we should be to our families, to those who support us," Vanguardia said. "We didn't give justice in wearing our uniforms tonight."

The Fuel Masters will try to redeem themselves against a Talk N Text Ka Tropa team that's also fresh off a loss.

Talk N Text needs Ranidel de Ocampo and Moala Tautaa to shake off their below-par outings against Meralco to get back on the winning track. 

JC Intal and Matthew Wright are the players to watch for Phoenix.

For more sports coverage, visit the ABS-CBN Sports website.