TNT KaTropa import Terrence Jones goes for a layup against NLEX’s Philip Paredes and Curtis Washington in their game Wednesday. The KaTropa prevailed, 102-87?.
Jun Mendoza
Elite keen on face-off with Kings
Olmin Leyba (The Philippine Star) - May 24, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — After acquitting themselves well in a tough opening assignment against Meralco, Blackwater faces an acid test anew as it clashes with defending champion Barangay Ginebra tonight in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

The Elite got their bid running with a hard-earned 94-90 overtime victory over the Bolts, giving the charges of first-time coach Aris Dimaunahan confidence as they seek back-to-back wins and the solo lead in their 7 p.m. encounter with the Gin Kings.

“It’s a big test, especially for a rookie coach like me. After coach Norman (Black of Meralco), it’s coach Tim (Cone of Ginebra). I’ll be more motivated. We’ll see what happens. We’ll devise the best possible game plan against Ginebra and hopefully, we could get another win,” said Dimaunahan, hoping his Alex Stepheson-led squad will rise to the challenge.

Elite rookie Rayray Parks, who scored 20 points and grabbed eight rebounds in his maiden PBA outing, welcomed the challenge.

“I love playing Ginebra. They’ve got a lot of great players, talent, height, diversity. It’s going to be a great challenge. And the fans, I love the fans whether they love me or hate me because they’re so passionate about the game,” said Parks.

Justin Brownlee carries the cudgels for the Kings, aiming to continue his winning tradition with the league’s crowd darling.

“We’re ready to defend the title,” said Brownlee, fresh from a championship stint with Al Riyadi Beirut in the Lebanese league. 

“I’ve seen some of the imports and man, they’re good. It’s going to be a tough test. I’m the shortest of the imports but with help from (big men) Japeth (Aguilar), Joe (Devance) and Greg (Slaughter), I believe we can manage. I have faith in my team,” he added.

Cone said they’re counting on Brownlee’s versatility and chemistry with Ginebra and his winning attitude. “He’s a winner and he brings that winner mentality to the team,” said Cone.

Meanwhile, the Gani Lawal-bannered Bolts and the Kyle Barone-led Columbian Dyip hit the court at 4:30 p.m. in a showdown between two squads that stumbled on opening night.

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