ONE streak will be snapped when defending champion Magnolia and San Miguel Beer collide tonight in the PBA Governors Cup at the Mall of Asia Arena.
Columbian and Blackwater tangle in the opener, with each team looking to enhance its chances of making it to the quarterfinals.
SMB and Magnolia have won their last three games and consider the match as one true gauge of their respective bids to top the season-ending conference.
More so for the grand slam-seeking Beermen, who are set to meet another powerhouse team in Ginebra in just two days.
“Kaya nga we consider this game against Magnolia as very crucial and a real test,” said coach Leo Austria.
“At the same time, gusto rin naming makita kung hanggang saan na ang readiness namin to win this conference at alam naman natin na itong Magnolia would be giving us a tough challenge,” Austria added.
Indeed, Magnolia should prove to be a handful.
After opening their title-retention bid on a sour note, the Hotshots have gone on a tear capped by a 95-90 win over Alaska last Sunday.
The Columbian-Blackwater match is equally critical for the protagonists.
A win by the Dyip will jack their record to 3-2 and solidify their hold on sixth-running spot, a position the Elite want to wrest should they notch a second straight victory and improve to 2-2.
“Our aim is maka-back-to-back para tumaas ang standing namin at gumanda spot,” said Backwater coach Aris Dimaunahan, whose team is coming off a 107-98 conquest of NorthPort last Saturday that tied it at eighth with Ginebra.
Columbian coach Johnedel Cardel is of the same mind.
“Kailangang manalo kami bukas (Friday). Importante sa amin iyon,” said Cardel, who has been nursing the flu since his team dropped a 120-125 decision to TNT also last Saturday.
“Kapag nanalo bukas, medyo mas lalaki ang chance namin to make it to quarterfinals kaya sabi ko kailangang kunin namin bukas,” Cardel added.
To enhance its chances and better match up against Columbian inside operator Khapri Alston , Blackwater has decided to replace Marqus Blakely with Aaron Fuller, but some of the spotlight should also fall on the rematch between rookie sensations Bobby Ray Parks of the Elite and CJ Perez of the Dyip.
Parks missed the Philippine Cup due to his ABL commitments but had 23 points, five rebounds and as many assists –to Perez’s 17 points and seven boards – in towing Blackwater to victory in their initial matchup last May 26.
Currently, Parks is averaging 29.3 points, 3.3 rebounds and as many dimes while Perez has his own stats line of 24.75 points, 10.25 rebounds, 3.5 assists and 2.25 steals an outing.