Batang Pier versus Kings: A fast track to the championship game

Jan 22, 2024

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MANILA, Philippines – By using the shortcut, ONE twice-to-beat squad has made it to the Final Four without incident. After missing the same route, another is preparing for a Sunday slog that could mean the difference between life and death.

The previously sixth-ranked NorthPort Batang Pier will take against the Barangay Ginebra Kings on the grounds of PhilSports Arena on Friday as they strive to earn a speedy semis admission. Both teams will be working hard to gain the same advantage.

Though the odds are stacked heavily in their favor, the Gin Kings understand that in order to cross the Batang Pier and move closer to their objective of defending the championship they defeated the Bay Area Dragons in the previous season, they must perform their duty and, if necessary, go above and beyond.

In the Philippine Basketball Association Commissioner’s Cup playoffs, coach Tim Cone and his team have made up their minds that no game would be simple.

They also have a strong desire to achieve a breakthrough achievement, and they have the courage to claw, fight, and battle against a threatening NorthPort side.

In the 2019 Governors’ Cup, the Batang Pier has never advanced to the semifinals.

However, with its youthful team and coach Boni Tan, NorthPort is essentially a new formula.

Amidst eager locals, Tan boasts a valuable addition in Venky Jois, who averages 24.5 points in addition to 15.2 rebounds, 5.0 assists, and 2.1 blocks, while participating in 1.8 steals.

Arvin Tolentino, who leads them in scoring with 22.3 points per game, and Joshua Munzon, who scores 12.5, 2.9, 3.3, and 2.4 points per game, are their other two reliable scorers.

They can also get in touch with Brent Paraiso, JM Calma, Paul Zamar, Cade Flores, as well as Fran Yu.

Being tall enough and heavy enough to compete with Tony Bishop, Jamie Malonzo, Japeth Aguilar, and Christian Standhardinger of Ginebra is a concern.

In their elimination match on January 7, the Gin Kings made the most of their advantage, defeating Batang Pier 103-93.

Six nights afterward, the Gin Kings used their twice-to-beat bonus to defeat the NLEX Road Warriors 103-99 and secure a position in the Top 4.

Without a doubt, the Kings wish to benefit from that inducement.

Meanwhile, Beermen are out to complete their work, and E-Painters are motivated to survive another day

As it faces formidable San Miguel Beer on Friday during their PBA Commissioner’s Cup preliminary match at the PhilSports Arena, RAIN or Shine is undoubtedly up against an enormous challenge.

However, it doesn’t mean that seventh-ranked Elasto Painters as well as coach Yeng Guiao aren’t determined to put up a fierce battle of their own to negate the second-seeded Beermen’s win-once advantages.

However, Guiao conceded that it would be difficult for his squad to contain SMB’s explosive offense, which is mostly led by June Mar Fajardo along with Bennie Boatwright but also includes some extremely talented local players.

Together with players like Andrei Caracut, Santo Santillan, Beau Belga, as well as Keith Datu, Treadwell made his league debut in that match after replacing Dajuan Summers. Since then, Treadwell has guided Rain or Shine to a six-game undefeated run.

Nonetheless, Guiao is aware that stopping or at least restricting SMB’s array of skills—which include, among others, CJ Perez, Jericho Cruz, Marcio Lassiter, and Mo Tautuaa—should prove to be difficult for him.

Guiao anticipates that his squad will locate the crucial opening on the other side of the court.

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