The reigning defending champion, the Barangay Ginebra San Miguel will meet its challenger, the surging Phoenix Petroleum Fuel Masters and this time the clash will happen at the Xavier University Gym in Cagayan de Oro City.
Game will start at 5 o’clock in the afternoon in another Petron Blaze Saturday special.
The Fuel Masters currently owns the best record this third conference with its 5-1 card but the Gin Kings are right behind with their own 4-1 slate.
Historically, if a team reached five wins they’re already assured of a playoff berth. However, the Fuel Masters are aiming for a twice-to-beat advantage once the second round starts.
In the 2018 PBA Governors’ Cup, the playoff format is different. The top four teams will carry a twice-to-beat advantage against the lower four squads.
“Teams need to win as much as they can in this tournament because you want to be in the Top Four for the twice-to-beat advantage,” said Phoenix coach Louie Alas.
Prior to their game against Ginebra, Phoenix able to snag victories against TNT KaTropa Texters, last year’s runner-up Meralco Bolts and few days ago against Magnolia Hotshots Pambansang Manok.
“Malaking bagay sa amin yun we have a momentum to ride on as we play Ginebra,” said Alas.
Ginebra on the other hand will continue to miss the services of its key players, notably Japeth Aguilar and Greg Slaughter.
“They are shorthanded but Ginebra is Ginebra. They’re a next man up team. Kapag merong player na wala sa kanila, the next man steps up. Kahit lima lang natitira sa lineup nyan, they would come out and compete,” Alas added.
That ability to adjust was evident during the last outing of the Gin Kings against the San Miguel Beermen.
“We’re fortunate that June Mar (Fajardo) and Marcio (Lassiter) didn’t play for them. On the other hand, we also had guys not playing as well. It’s a key game for both, and we’re happy to pull this one,” said Ginebra coach Tim Cone then.