Jul 24, 2021

Magnolia stakes unbeaten mark against slow-starting Ginebra

GOOD thing Barangay Gineba got a fitting warm up going to its next outing in the PBA Philippine Cup.

The defending champion crosses path early with Manila Classico rival Magnolia in a Sunday showdown pitting two teams considered as top title contenders for the season-opening conference.

The Hotshots have so far lived up to expectations by winning their first two games, including an 84-82 thriller against the Alaska Aces the last time out.

The Kings meanwhile, began their campaign on a wrong foot, losing badly to the NLEX Road Warriors, 94-75, before bouncing back by edging out a pesky Blackwater side, 96-81, on Friday.

The victory over Blackwater was enough for coach Tim Cone to feel good enough about his team's chances on battling the Hotshots on even terms in their 4:35 p.m. encounter at the Ynares Sports Arena.

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"We really know we have a tough opponent coming in against Magnolia and we know they're one of the top teams in the league especially now with Calvin Abueva, Paul Lee, Ian Sangalang, and Mark Barroca. Hopefully, we can give them a good game," said Cone.

The Ginebra coach is not concern this early about his team's slow start.
He noted big man acquisition Christian Stanhardinger has yet to integrate himself fully in the team's scheme of things.

"We got Christian late in the preparation phase so we really have a chance to really get him ready to solely what we do. So oftentimes, he's guessing out there," said Cone of the Fil-German big man.

"But we believe we can get better as the conference goes along. We don't really have too much panic this early in the conference."(RG)