Up against coach Yeng Guiao's teams, Barangay Ginebra coach Tim Cone says "you get what you earn."
The Kings need to win the match to stay in the running for a twice-to-beat bonus in the quarterfinals while the Road Warriors seek a win that will assure them of a playoff passage.
And Cone expects an even tougher grind in a duel with the fiery Kapampangan coach in his backyard.
"There's never anything easy playing against coach Yeng's teams," said Cone, anticipating a real slam-bang battle as the Gin Kings and the NLEX Road Warriors clash in a key game at the Angeles University Foundation Sports Arena in Angeles City, Pampanga Saturday night.
The Kings and the Road Warriors figure in a virtual playoff match in this Petron Blaze road showdown in the Pampanga district where Guiao is bidding to reclaim a congressional seat.
"We know it's gonna be tough. NLEX is also a team on a roll coming off two blowout wins. So we know we have a work cut out for us, and we'll have to respond in kind," said Cone.
Ginebra actually needs to sweep its last three games against NLEX, Meralco and NorthPort to catch up with Rain or Shine (8-3) at second place behind Phoenix Pulse.
If Ginebra, ROS and TNT KaTropa all finish at 8-3, the Kings claim the No. 2 spot by virtue of a superior quotient.
But if only Ginebra and ROS end up at 8-3, the E-Painters secure the coveted spot on account of the winner-over-the-rule.
The E-Painters topped the Kings, 83-80, in a road match in Calasiao, Pangasinan on Jan. 26.
Going to the Angeles tiff, the Kings are buoyed up by back-to-back victories over the Phoenix Fuel Masters (100-97) and versus the Magnolia Hotshots (97-93).
The Road Warriors, meanwhile, ride the momentum of big routs of Alaska Milk Aces (91-70) and the Blackwater Elite (122-101). (SB)