The availability or non-availability of TNT KaTropa forward Troy Rosario will surely be a big thing as the Texters and the Barangay Ginebra Kings clash in a key Sunday match in the PBA Philippine Cup at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
The KaTropa face enormous matchup problems if Rosario can't play as a result of his nasty fall in their last game against the Phoenix Fuel Masters.
But results of Rosario's exams (X-Ray and CT scan) cleared him of any damage, and the Gin Kings brace for a battle against the KaTropa with their full roster.
The winner in their 6:45 p.m. tussle will break free from a four-way logjam at fifth place with the Fuel Masters and the NLEX Road Warriors at 4-4.
"We're tied in the standings, so it's a big game for both teams," said Ginebra coach Tim Cone.
"It always comes down to discipline in our execution on both sides of the ball when we play TNT. Our respective systems are so radically different that it always comes down to who can play their game. They're always a tough matchup for us," Cone also said.
Ginebra's big 103-77 conquest of Kia and TNT's downfall against Phoenix, 72-74, following Rosario's early exit after his hard spill on Wednesday tied the two teams at 4-4.
The Kings hope they will continue to get going and land a spot in the playoffs.
"It has been a struggle for us, but hopefully this is a game that turns us around," said Cone, shortly after their win against the Picanto.
"We're getting a little healthier. We're getting on the same page and starting to adjust on the new way the game is being played and called," Cone also said.
For LA Tenorio and Scottie Thompson, it's about playing with urgency to the urging of their coach.
"Sabi ni coach Tim (Cone) we treat the game as a playoff game, at talagang naglaro kami with playoff mentality," said Thompson, shining bright with a near triple-double job with 14 rebounds, 12 points and seven rebounds in their win against Kia.
"Our last game was Game One of our playoffs. On Sunday, that will be our Game Two, that's our mindset," said Tenorio. "Di ba when you're in the playoffs, you can't afford to make mistakes or let go of one possession, so it's really important for us to be in playoff mentality."
TNT coach Nash Racela said every game is important at this stage of the conference.
And they hope Rosario can be with them as they fight for their playoff hopes.(SB)