Kings to fan playoff bonus vs FiberXers | Inquirer Sports

Kings to fan playoff bonus vs FiberXers

/ 05:30 AM November 30, 2022

Jamie Malonzo Barangay Ginebra PBA

Barangay Ginebra’s Jamie Malonzo dunks the ball as NorthPort’s Arvin Tolentino looks on. PBA IMAGES

Quarterfinal slots and that much-desired twice-to-beat advantage in the first round of the PBA Commissioner’s Cup playoffs are on the line with all four teams in a regular Wednesday doubleheader facing must-win situations at PhilSports Arena in Pasig City.

Corporate siblings Meralco and NLEX battle for survival in the curtain-raiser, while Barangay Ginebra looks to improve its chances of tabbing that win-once perk against dangerous Converge in the nightcap.


At 4-6, the Bolts are coming into the 3 p.m. clash facing tall odds following an ankle injury center Raymond Almazan sustained over the weekend.


“We’ve been in this situation for quite a while now. The game against NLEX, for both teams, is a crucial game,” said Meralco coach Norman Black. “Basically, [a win] just gives you a chance of getting a tie, so a must-win situation for us. And we still have San Miguel after that, which is also a must-win situation.”

Meanwhile, the Gin Kings are set to take on a young and resurgent FiberXers, looking to strike off one of the first two conditions needed for the crowd darlings to clinch the No. 2 spot.

The clash pits the battle-hardened Tim Cone against champion varsity mentor Aldin Ayo in a coaching duel that was supposed to take place back in September but was rescheduled due to bad weather.

“I played against great coaches. It seems like I coach against great coaches every night. Aldin is one of those great coaches, and that’s the way I approach it,” said Cone.

“We’re just gonna go out there. It has little to do between him and I. The players on the court decide it,” he said of the 5:45 p.m., tiff, which could also determine how deep the FiberXers go in the playoffs.

Tied with Ginebra at 8-3 but out of the top two race, this is also a must-win for Converge—not only for Ayo’s satisfaction of getting a victory over Cone—since it will help the FiberXers dodge an early face-off with defending conference champion San Miguel Beer and the fit-again June Mar Fajardo in the quarterfinals.


Ayo told the Inquirer in a previous interview that he treats the battle against Cone and his star-studded crew as the “main event” of his young PBA career.

So far, Ayo has triumphed over established PBA coaches: Meralco’s Black, San Miguel’s Leo Austria, TNT’s Chot Reyes and Rain or Shine’s Yeng Guiao.

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TAGS: Barangay Ginebra, Converge, PBA Commissioner's Cup, Philippine Basketball Association

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