#PBA2015 GOVS CUP PREVIEW: NLEX ROAD WARRIORS vs BGY. GINEBRA KINGS – PLAYING THE SPOILER GAME
NLX has already been booted out of contention for the quarterfinals, while GIN is still barely alive for the eighth and final spot. The Kings have to win in this game, though, and hope that Kia lost (or didn’t win by much) in the previous game. NLX can play the spoiler’s role in this match, since they have nothing to lose anyway and it’d be a nice bookend to their season to finish with a win. GIN, of course, will stop at nothing to pull out a victory here after so many disappointments this season. Winning here should also put the Kings in the next round while booting out upstart Kia and rival TNT.
NLX is coming off a good win, beating the Elite, 102-89 in OT. That snapped a 3-game losing skein for NLX, which will go on an early postseason break despite having high hopes entering the conference. Injuries hampered their chances, though, and they will surely love to end their campaign on a bright note by beating no less than the league’s most popular club.
GIN is also coming off a good win against the reeling Barako Bull Energy. The Kings needed that win to keep their quarterfinal hopes alive and they will need another one here to ensure their entry. That was a huge 22-point victory over BAR, though, so the Kings should have a ton of confidence heading into this game.
Playoff Scenario: GIN will only advance if they beat NLX and KIA wins over Meralco. KIA can still advance instead of GIN if KIA wins by a big margin against MER. Needless to say, the Kings are in a must-win situation here regardless.
NLX beat GIN, 97-81
NLX beat GIN, 96-90
- ALL IN FOR ALEXANDER
Kwame Alexander has had some low moments this conference, but he was impressive in NLX’s last game, putting up a 26-16 double-double. He will have to play even better Wednesday night against maybe one of the top 2 most explosive imports this conference — Orlando Johnson. If Kwame can sort of cancel out Orlando, NLX should be in good shape.
vs BLA: 26pts, 16rebs, 2asts, 1stl, 9/13 FGs.
Stats: 21.1ppg, 13.9rpg, 1.8apg, 1.8bpg, 50.0% FGs.
- MADALI KAY MADANLY
When he’s healthy, Syrian star Michel Madanly makes the game look so easy. He has a good stroke from the perimeter and can finish well in traffic. Overall, considering the early injury to him, he has had an impressive outing here in Manila. It’ll be interesting to see if he can bow out in style against the Gin Kings.
Stats: 17.9ppg, 2.8rpg, 2.2apg, 2.8 triples per game, 31.6% 3pts, 40.1% FGs.
- CAPTAIN HOOK!
After some up-and-down performances throughout the conference, Mac Cardona came up with maybe his best game against the Elite. He put up 16pts and 5rebs and shot 7/13 from the field in a very efficient display. If he can do something like that here, the Kings’ perimeter players will be under a lot of pressure to contain him.
vs BLA: 16pts, 5rebs, 1ast, 1stl, 1 triple, 7/13 FGs.
Stats: 9.1ppg, 3.6rpg, 1.5apg, 0.8spg, 45.0 FG%
- FORCING TURNOVERS
One reason NLX was able to pull off a nice win against BLA was its defense. The Road Warriors forced 17 BLA turnovers mainly because of 9 steals. If NLX can put a lot of defensive pressure on GIN in this game, too, the Road Warriors may just succeed in spoiling the Kings’ season.
Turnovers last game: NLX 11, BLA 17
Pts off TOs: NLX 23, BLA 8
Madanly – 2stls
Villanueva J – 2stls
Wilson – 2stls
- GO GO ORLANDO!
Orlando Johnson has been one of the best imports so far this conference. The California native actually leads all imports in scoring and is 2nd overall in 3pts made per game. If he can put up big numbers again here, the Kings should be heavily-favored to win.
vs BAR: 41pts, 9rebs, 2asts, 1stl, 1blk, 4 triples, 50.0 FG%.
Stats: 35.5ppg, 11.7rpg, 3.7apg, 1.0spg, 2.7 triples per game, 44.8 FG%.
- SPEEDING SOL TRAIN!
Sol Train has been a little inconsistent for GIN this conference, but his last two games have given us a glimpse of what he can really bring to the table — scoring and playmaking. If he can play at a high level again today, the Kings should be in pretty good shape.
Stats: 8.0ppg, 2.4rpg, 4.3apg, 1.1spg, 42.9 FG%
Last 2 games: 13.5ppg, 2.0rpg, 3.5apg, 1.5 triples per game, 57.1 FG%
- THE KOREAN SENSATION
Another guy who has done well so far is Korean import Kim Ji-Wan. The Korean sensation has earned a lot of fans because of his chinito looks and his stellar, energetic play on the court. He has been a pretty reliable shooter and playmaker for GIN, and he will be expected to play well again today.
Stats: 10.8ppg, 3.5rpg, 4.5apg, 1.0spg, 1.8 3pts per game, 39.5 FG% (pls check)
- KEY MATCH-UP: ASI TAULAVA X GREG SLAUGHTER
The key match-up here is between the men in the middle — old-timer Asi Taulava and young buck Greg Slaughter. Taulava continues to defy his age this season, putting double-doubles left and right for NLX. Slaughter, meanwhile, was hampered by an injury and is slowly getting his groove back for GIN. Without a doubt, this will be a very important match-up as both will be expected to anchor their respective team’s interior and try to protect the rim against the opposing imports. More pressure is on Greg, though, as he is seen as a cornerstone of the league’s most famous club.
Taulava stats: 16.2ppg, 9.7rpg, 1.2apg, 48.1 FG%
Slaughter stats: 9.4ppg, 6.8rpg, 1.0apg, 38.3 FG%
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