Friday, June 22, 2012

Roaring Tigers eye outright berth

MANILA, Philippines - Rampaging Powerade seeks an outright semifinal berth while slumping Air21 fights for survival in a crucial tiff in the PBA Governors Cup at the Smart Araneta Coliseum tonight.

The Tigers chase a fifth straight win while the Express are out to stop a four-game skid as they clash at 7:30 p.m. after the Barangay Ginebra Kings try to fan their own semis hopes versus the Alaska Milk Aces at 5:15 p.m.

Meanwhile, pacesetting Rain or Shine and fourth-running Petron Blaze leave for Dumaguete where they figure in an equally important match at 6:45 p.m. tomorrow at the Lamberto Macias Sports Center.

The Elasto Painters try to improve the record they’re carrying over into the semis while the Boosters hope to eventually book a berth in the next round.

Two teams have put a lock on the semis slots while one team has kissed its semis bid goodbye with seven playdates left in the elimination round.

Having fallen by the wayside, Alaska is now just after a graceful exit in the tourney.

But regardless of what happens in its last two games against Ginebra and Air21, Alaska will finish with its worst showing (with fewest wins and lowest percentage) in a season ever.

The Kings are wary the Aces may be dangerous while playing with nothing to lose.

“We can’t take any team for granted. Alaska has a proud tradition so whatever the circumstance is, we have to come out and play hard,” said Ginebra coach Siot Tanquingcen.

The Tigers, meanwhile, intend to just focus on what they need to do.

“We fully understand what are at stake in our game. However, we cannot burden ourselves with anything that will hinder us from playing hard for the whole 48 minutes,” said Powerade coach Bo Perasol.

Perasol will have one less problem with Air21 rough-houser Ogie Menor meted a one-game suspension plus a fine of P10,000 for his flagrant infraction in Meralco import Mario West Wednesday night.

Menor should have been Air21’s main defender against Powerade top gun Gary David.

Ginebra put to an end David’s amazing personal streak of 20-point showing last Friday but not Powerade’s unbeaten run with import Omar Sneed in tow.

Sneed came through with a game-high 27 points, including all but two of their last nine points as the Tigers roared to a fourth straight win with an 86-83 nipping of the Kings.

The Kings covered David well all game long but failed to check Sneed, allowing the Tigers to stay on a roll, moving in the threshold of the semis at 4-2.

David struggled for 16 points while alternately guarded by Cedric Bozeman and Dylan Ababou. It was the first time in the last 20 games that David failed to put in at least 20. He was the first player to string up 19 straight games with at least 20 markers since Danny Seigle carved the feat in the 2006 Philippine Cup. -