Mahindra out to regain winning ways versus NLEX
MAHINDRA, less than a week after seeing its dream PBA start come to an end, tries to pick itself up today when the Enforcers clash with the very dangerous NLEX Road Warriors as the elimination round of the Governors’ Cup enters its second half at Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Tip-off is at 4:15 p.m. with the Enforcers looking to bounce back from a 94-100 loss at the hands of Phoenix Petroleum last week, their first defeat in five games that knocked them out of the lead for the first time in the season-closing conference.
And they will be facing an NLEX crew that has one of the most prolific imports in Henry Walker, who just led the Road Warriors past Star, 88-85, over the weekend that snapped their three-game losing streak.
James White will, as usual, be the man for the Enforcers, who threw away several double-digit leads to bow to the Fuel Masters that left idle TNT KaTropa as the only unbeaten team in the lot.
Meanwhile, Meralco and Blackwater also try to rediscover their winning ways in the 7 p.m. game, with the Bolts seeking a victory that would keep them mathematically in the running for a place in the top four.
The Elite, on the other hand, are reeling from three straight defeats and, at 1-4, are in dire need of a win just to keep their playoff hopes alive.
Four teams will get the boot after the single-round eliminations and of the eight that will march on, it will be important to rank in the top four to gain a twice-to-beat advantage in the first round of the playoffs.
No. 1 will be ranged against No. 8, No. 2 tangles with No. 7 while the third- and fourth-ranked squads square off with Nos. 6 and 5, respectively. The lower-ranked teams need two straight wins to make the Final Four.
White could provide a lot of match-up problems for the Road Warriors, whose big men, Asi Taulava and Enrico Villanueva, are not as agile as he is.
Walker also poses the same problem because of his ability to play the perimeter well and come up with post-up moves where he uses his heft to the hilt.
LA Revilla, Mahindra’s 5-foot-7 playmaker, is expected to miss a third straight game because of a broken nose, leaving point guard Mike DiGregorio and Paolo Taha.
KG Canaleta and Aldrech Ramos will be the main local guns for the Enforcers, while NLEX will try to draw power from Jonas Villanueva and rookie Garvo Lanete, who was instrumental in that victory over the Hotshots.
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