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Sports

Boosters vs Kings: Solo lead best Xmas gift

The Philippine Star

Games today

(MOA Arena)

5:45 p.m. – Air21 vs Globalport

8 p.m. – Petron Blaze vs Ginebra

MANILA, Philippines - Petron Blaze and Barangay Ginebra, sister teams under the giant SMC umbrella, aren’t giving love on Christmas Day.

The Boosters and the Gin Kings lock horns in a sibling battle with no less than the solo lead at stake the PLDT MyDSL PBA Philippine Cup at the Mall of Asia Arena.

They square off at 8 p.m. succeeding the 5:45 p.m. match between fifth-running Globalport and cellar-dweller Air21 in a Christmas Day special tipped to draw a capacity crowd at the Pasay City sports venue.

But the highly anticipated clash between Petron’s Junmar Fajardo and Greg Slaughter of Ginebra might have to wait for another game.

Suffering a bruised right knee towards the end of their practice Monday afternoon, Fajardo won’t be able to suit up tonight.

“Junmar is not playing but luckily his ACL is intact, according to doctors,” said Petron coach Gee Abanilla. “We just have to be resilient and weather the storm. We are hoping for the best for Junmar and I know that God will always be there to guide him and our team.”

Both assured of playoffs spot with their identical 7-1 win-loss records, the Boosters and the Kings are now in pursuit of a quarterfinals twice-to-beat advantage in the closing stage of the elimination round.

The Batang Pier, enjoying improved performance from their mix of veterans and talented youngsters, will be out to go above the .500 mark again while the Express, with a win to show in nine outings, hope to spark a needed rally.  

Ginebra caught up with Petron on top as the Kings whipped the Alaska Milk Aces, 96-89, while the Boosters dropped an overtime battle with the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters, 95-99, Saturday.

With an efficient helping defense, the E-Painters neutralized Fajardo’s inside strength and stopped the Boosters’ unbeaten romp in the all-Filipino tourney.

Now, the Boosters will have to deal with Ginebra giants Slaughter and Japeth Aguilar most possibly minus their own behemoth Fajardo.

Doug Kramer and Arwind Santos are likely to have their hands full manning their crippled frontline.

Then the Boosters will also have to deal with LA Tenorio, Mark Caguioa, Chris Ellis and Mac Baracael.

The Boosters swept their first seven assignments with Fajardo delivering averages of 15.5 points, 17.25 rebounds and 3.0 blocks.

Slaughter norms 15.0 markers, 10.62 boards and 2.0 blocks while Aguilar puts in 19.75 points, 9.12 rebounds and 4.0 blocks an outing for the Kings.

ALASKA MILK ACES

BATANG PIER

BOOSTERS

BOOSTERS AND THE GIN KINGS

BOOSTERS AND THE KINGS

CHRIS ELLIS AND MAC BARACAEL

CHRISTMAS DAY

FAJARDO

GINEBRA

PETRON

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