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GlobalPort shoots for share of lead, collides with Blackwater
Globalport star Terrence Romeo tries to attack the defense of Blackwater rookie point guard Brian Heruela in this file photo. | PBA Images
Games Friday (San Juan Arena)
4:15 p.m. – Meralco vs Phoenix
7 p.m. – GlobalPort vs Blackwater
MANILA, Philippines – A well-rested GlobalPort team returns into action on Friday, seeking to regain a share of the lead with titleholder San Miguel Beer as the Batang Pier take on a dangerous Blackwater side in the PBA Philippine Cup at The Arena in San Juan.
Meralco and Phoenix Petroleum both look to get back on the winning track as they clash in the 4:15 p.m. curtain-raiser before GlobalPort and Blackwater collide at 7 p.m.
The Batang Pier play their first game in 10 days or since holding off a scary Barangay Ginebra rally for a 91-84 decision that raised their record to 3-1 on Dec. 11 at the Big Dome.
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"We will be playing a vastly improved team so it's important for us to have a good start and continue trying to hold down our opponent," said GlobalPort coach Franz Pumaren.
Pumaren braces for a tough battle versus Blackwater which is boosted by the triumvirate of top rookie Mac Belo, steady sophomore Arthur dela Cruz and hardworking three-year pro Kyle Pascual.
While the Batang Pier aim to tie the Beermen in the lead at 4-1, the Elite try to grab second place at 4-2.
Blackwater coach Leo Isaac hopes they can sustain the form shown in their 96-85 conquest of the NLEX Road Warriors the last time after two straight losses.
"We showed a semblance of team organization unlike in two previous games," said Isaac.
"There were situations where players would want to play on their own, not committing to our offensive rules. It would've been okay if they produced results but didn't. We have to correct that. We have to constantly remind the players that one player can't win for the whole team," Isaac said.
Against GlobalPort, the Elite may really need to play as a team to be able to keep up with Batang Pier, who've been drawing consistent productive performances from Terrence Romeo, Stanley Pringle and JR Quinahan.
As a lethal backcourt duo, Romeo averages a whopping 27 points (league best) per game while Pringle makes 18.7 points, 5.2 rebounds and 3.7 assists and 1.5 steals an outing.
Meralco tries to stay in the Top Eight while Phoenix looks to check its slide in their own crucial face-off.
"At 2-2, we are almost in a must-win situation. A win is important to stay out of the bottom four," said Meralco coach Norman Black.
"Our defense versus their three-point shooters will be our main challenge as they are one of the best three-point shooting teams in the league," Black also said. "For our part, we just have to do a better job at end game and pull out victories."