To be held at the Smart Araneta Coliseum, the Kings, the champions in the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) Governors’ Cup last season, are out to improve on their underperforming 1-2 record so far, which partly they blame on the long gaps they have had in between games.
Citing their inability to establish some momentum with the weeklong breaks they have been having, the Kings have seen their campaign go up and down.
They opened their Philippine Cup bid with a loss to the TNT KaTropa, 108-103, on Nov. 27 before winning over the Rain or Shine Elastopainters, 81-74, on Dec. 4.
The Kings then lost again a week later on Dec. 11 to GlobalPort Batang Pier, 91-84, which left them “frustrated” as they failed to hold on down the stretch in what was a winnable game for them.
Against Batang Pier, LA Tenorio and Japeth Aguilar tried to lead their team to the victory. Guard Tenorio had 23 points, five rebounds and eight assists while big man Aguilar wound up with 23 points, eight rebounds and two blocks.
Their effort went for naught however as the team failed to tame GlobalPort star guard Terrence Romeo, who exploded for 35 points.
Just the same, the Kings are “optimistic” of finding their groove collectively as the season-opening PBA tournament moves on, beginning with Mahindra, which is still winless in four games to date.
The Floodbuster are being led by Alex Mallari with averages of 16.8 points, 7.8 rebounds, two assists and a steal.
They nearly pulled an upset over defending champions San Miguel Beermen in their last game but simply could not finish things and bowed, 94-91.
Meanwhile, preceding the Barangay Ginebra-Mahindra main game is the opening match between TNT and the Phoenix Petroleum Fuel Masters at 4:15 p.m.
The two teams, both sporting identical 2-2 records, are looking to bounce back after losing in their last assignments.
TNT fell to the Meralco Bolts last time around, 98-87, after winning back-to-back games.
It is being led by All-Star guard Jayson Castro with norms of 21.5 points, four rebounds and six assists while veteran forward Ranidel de Ocampo is backstopping him with 17.5 points, seven rebounds and four assists.
Like the KaTropa, Phoenix dropped its last game following two straight wins, routed by a whopping 44 points by Star, 123-79.
JC Intal is the top man for the Fuel Masters with numbers of 17.8 points, 4.5 rebounds, two assists and 1.3 steals. Guard Simon Enciso, meanwhile, has been good for 17 points, four assists and 4.8 assists.