Gin Kings wary of Elite; Painters clash with Batang Pier

Barangay Ginebra coach Tim Cone.

BARANGAY Ginebra faces Blackwater –- a team coach Tim Cone said they are ‘leery’ of, while Rain or Shine takes on Globalport in a pair of interesting matches in the PBA Philippine Cup on Friday at the Mall of Asia Arena.

That the Gin Kings were beaten by the Elite during a practice game prior to the start of the conference is enough reason for Ginebra coach Tim Cone to be cautious of their 7 p.m. encounter.

“We’re very leery of Blackwater. They beat us up in a practice game before the start of the conference,” stressed Cone.

Cone’s apprehension grew all the more evident that even the intensity the Gin Kings showed in their 104-97 spanking of Globalport last Sunday may have to be improved dramatically if they are to beat the Elite.

“They have talented wings and have good size starting with (JP) Erram.

We’ll need to be a lot better against them than what we were in our last game,” added Cone.

Indeed, the Gin Kings will have to be cautious enough against the Elite, who are riding on the momentum of last Dec. 29’s 92-87 upset win over Rain or Shine.

“They are truly one of the up and coming teams in the league. They are building their team the right way,” added Cone.

The Gin Kings will actually gun for their third straight win and the solo lead – something that could give the Elite much motivation.

“It would be something special for us if we be the first team to hand Ginebra its first defeat in the conference,” said Blackwater coach Leo Isaac.

“We are going to give our very best and try to win,” added Isaac.

The Elite are expected to draw scintillating performances from Mac Belo, Mike DiGregorio, Allein Maliksi and rookie Toto Jose who shone when they beat the Elasto Painters.

Belo topscored with 25 points built around five triples, DiGregorio added 23 points including three treys, while Maliksi chipped in 10 points and 10 rebounds, and Jose 12 points and eight rebounds.

Rain or Shine meanwhile tries to rebound from that big loss to the Elite as it takes on 0-2 Globalport in the first tussle at 4:30 p.m.