BARANGAY Ginebra, with interim coach Richard del Rosario still at the helm, seeks to take care of business against cellar-dwelling Terrafirma on Wednesday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum to ensure their place in the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) Philippine Cup playoffs.
Mr. Del Rosario, who is in charge while decorated mentor Tim Cone is with the Miami Heat in the NBA Summer League, steered the Gin Kings a 105-89 beating of Converge in his first stand-in stint last Friday for their third straight win and 5-1 overall.
Though heavily-favored against an injury-hit Dyip crew that has lost all six assignments in the new season, Mr. Del Rosario and the crowd darlings have no intention of taking their opponent in the 6 p.m. encounter lightly especially with the chase for prime positions in the quarterfinals heating up.
“Goal namin is makapasok muna sa playoffs then ‘pag nakapasok na, try namin makuha yung Top 2,” said Mr. Del Rosario, whose team runs second behind San Miguel Beer (6-1) and narrowly paces Blackwater (4-1) and TnT (7-2) in a tight team standings.
Mr. Cone will be out for two more Ginebra games after this and the plan is to put his squad in a favorable standing when he finally returns.
Meanwhile, Meralco (3-3) is also without its chief strategist, Norman Black, as it tries to arrest a two-game slide at 3 p.m. against struggling Rain or Shine (1-5).
Mr. Black left for the US after the Bolts’ 90-89 heartbreaker to the Bossing last Thursday to attend to his ailing mother and assistant coach Ronnie Magsanoc was tasked with the chores of reigniting Meralco’s quest.
“We really have to pick things up moving forward,” Mr. Black reiterated before going on indefinite leave.
That rings true as well for the Elasto Painters, who have dropped five straight since opening their campaign with a 79-77 win over Converge last June 5. — Olmin Leyba