September 04, 2018

Cone, Ginebra expect to have hands full as Pringle, Anthony rejoin NorthPort rotation

Reigning PBA Governors Cup back-to-back champ Barangay Ginebra wants a third straight win tucked under its belt before taking another respite as the league gives way to the September window of the FIBA World Cup qualifier.

NorthPort, meanwhile, hopes to finally nail a first win for a better mood and lighter feeling heading to its own breather.

The Gin Kings and the Batang Pier clash at 7 p.m. Wednesday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

Ginebra is at 2-0 while NorthPort is at exact opposite at 0-2, but coach Tim Cone expects a battle at hand for them, with Stanley Pringle and Sean Anthony set to rejoin coach Pido Jarencio's team.

Pringle is fresh from his sterling stint as a member of the national team in the just concluded Asian Games in Jakarta while Anthony is raring to plunge back into action from a bout with an injury.

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The two Fil-Am players were the standouts among the Batang Pier in their quarterfinals finish in the Commissioner's Cup.

"With Pringle and Anthony back in the fold, NorthPort is a completely different team than what we've seen so far this conference," said Cone.

"With those guys, they are true contenders. It's our third game in six days so energy will be a concern for us. We know we have a battle in our hand," Cone added.

But odds are definitely heavy on the Kings side as they ride the momentum of a stirring run all the way from the Commissioner's Cup finals.

They're off to a hot start in the season-ending tourney with a 96-84 conquest of the Columbian Dyip, Friday, followed by a 109-101 trumping of the Alaska Milk Aces, Sunday.

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The Aces had been unbeaten in the tourney before ramming into the Kings and suffering a first loss in four games.

From his championship ride with SMB-Alab in the ABL and to their title run in the recent Commissioner's Cup, Justin Brownlee has been a steady super force.

"It's nice to have Justin on your side," acknowledged Cone.

Jarencio couldn't say the same of Rashad Woods at least in their first two games in the tourney.(SB)