SMB opens its All-Filipino bid vs ROS; Gin Kings eye third win


Games Friday
(Smart Araneta Coliseum)
4:30 p.m. — Rain or Shine vs San Miguel
7:30 p.m. — Ginebra vs Meralco

WITH San Miguel Beer (SMB) just getting its feet wet in the PBA Philippine Cup, Rain or Shine (ROS) coach Yeng Guiao feels it’s the best time to ambush the defending champions.

“Probably a good time to play them,” Mr. Guiao said ahead of Friday’s showdown with the Beermen, who are hitting the court for the first time since capturing the Commissioner’s Cup back on Feb. 14.

“There’s no sense of urgency for them. That might be something we can take advantage of.”

Going to the 4:30 p.m. tiff at the Smart Araneta Coliseum, Mr. Guiao’s troops enjoy the benefit of being in the heat of battle already, although their first three outings all ended in losses.

If you ask SMB counterpart Jorge Gallent, though, the Beermen are ready to go. “We’re good,” said Mr. Gallent, a first-time champion coach who is in position to score a sweep of the two-conference season in the All-Filipino.

Mr. Gallent is drawing confidence from the fact it’s virtually all hands on deck for SMB, with June Mar Fajardo (calf) and Terrence Romeo (ankle) back in the grind after sustaining injuries in the previous title drive.

Meanwhile, unbeaten Barangay Ginebra seeks to make it three straight and maintain its hold of the lead versus struggling Meralco (1-3) in the 7:30 p.m. main gig.

Bucking the absence of ace playmaker Scottie Thompson, the Gin Kings started their campaign with victories over ROS, 113-107, and Phoenix, 102-92, and then found themselves in pole position Wednesday following the fall of erstwhile spotless pacesetter Blackwater (3-1) to NLEX (4-1), 97-103.

It’s a different story for the Bolts, who only have one win to show and even lost their last two assignments prior to rekindling their rivalry with the Gin Kings.

Both Ginebra and Meralco are aiming for a momentum-builder before they take a break for the PBA All Star festivities and the Holy Week holidays. — Olmin Leyba