Barangay Ginebra and the Blackwater Elite are off to great starts in the PBA bubble in Angeles City, as both won their first games.
This Thursday, Ginebra will look to be the first team to hand Blackwater head coach Nash Racela a loss with the Elite, though, that will be easier said than done, considering the fiery start of his team. Catch this game live on October 15 at 6:45 pm, Manila time.
The Barangay Ginebra San Miguel (1-0)
Barangay Ginebra didn’t need the typical huge crowd that shows up in their games to cheer for them to score a 102-92 win over the NLEX Road Warriors last Sunday. Ginebra pulled off that comprehensive victory with LA Tenorio and Japeth Aguilar mostly spending time on the bench, as the two were among the late arrivals at the PBA bubble in Angeles City.
Instead, it was Aljon Mariano who led the charge for Ginebra, leading his team with 20 points on 8-of-13 shooting from the field. Also showing up was veteran forward Jared Dillinger, who came off the bench and chipped in 12 points on efficient 5-of-7 shooting. Moreover, Dillinger finished with a plus-25. The win over NLEX was a testament to the depth of Ginebra, which had three players scoring at least 11 points as part of the second unit. Having rested enough, expect Tenorio and Aguilar to play more minutes and carve out bigger roles against Blackwater, who could struggle to deal with Ginebra’s combination of size and speed.
The Blackwater Elite (1-0)
Like Ginebra, Blackwater opened their 2020 Philippine Cup season with a win, as they took down the NorthPort Batang Pier last Monday, 96-89. The Elite leaned on an explosive third quarter attack in which they detonated for 41 points against just 18 by the Batang Pier. Don Trollano and Roi Sumang provided 17 points apiece for Blackwater, while Mac Belo fired 16 points.
The Elite do seem to have the guards to keep up with Ginebra’s backcourt. Trollano, Sumang, Ed Daquioag, and Diego Dario should have their hands full taking on the likes of Scottie Thompson, Stanley Pringle, and Tenorio.
Trollano, who had 10 rebounds against NorthPort, will play a crucial role in negating Thompson’s impact on the glass, which often powers Ginebra’s fastbreak attack. Daquioag is also another solid rebounding guard. He had six in the NorthPort win.
These guards were a big reason why, despite Christian Standhardinger eating Blackwater’s frontcourt alive on both ends of the floor, the Elite managed to outrebound Batang Pier, 60-53. Without Greg Slaughter to clog the lane, Trollano and company could have a field day attacking the paint or fishing for fouls after Blackwater scored 46 points in the paint versus NorthPort.
Ginebra will control the early goings of the game before Blackwater’s youth in the backcourt start changing the complexion of the contest in favor of the Elite. This will be a high-scoring game that Blackwater will win, 98-95.