Blackwater looks to get a leg up in the tournament when Ray Parks Jr. and the Elite take on San Miguel Beer in the 2019 PBA Commissioner's Cup at Mall of Asia Arena on Friday.
Rookie Parks is averaging 23.5 points, 4.8 rebounds and 3.3 assists, overall numbers that have keyed Blackwater's 5-1 record.
Alex Stepheson, who norms 22.1 points, 22.0 rebounds, 2.8 assists and 2.1 blocks a game, complements Parks perfectly.
A victory over the Beermen will break a 3-way tie for first place in the standings with TNT and NorthPort.
The Blackwater-San Miguel tussle is at 4:30 p.m., followed by the Magnolia-NLEX game at 7 p.m.
Blackwater coach Aris Dimaunahan is wary of his team getting complacent especially after a good start.
"We started 4-0 (in the 2018 Governors' Cup), but somehow that time medyo nag-let up mga players. Medyo nawala sa focus, medyo nag-celebrate at medyo nagkaroon ng konting complacency," Dimaunahan said in an article posted on the PBA website.
They certainly can't afford to be complacent against all-Filipino champion San Miguel, which is shaking off the cobwebs after 2 straight losses.
"Start pa lang naman ng conference and there are enough games left para maka-recover," said Beermen coach Leo Austria.
"Pero if we're going to make our move, the sooner the better dahil napakahirap maghabol, lalo na sa conference na ito na maraming nagpalakas at lahat ng imports magagaling."
Meanwhile, Magnolia and NLEX hope to nab a first win when they clash in the main game.
Magnolia coach Chito Victolero is counting on replacement import James Farr to improve on his underwhelming debut in their 102-99 defeat to NorthPort on Wednesday.
Victolero said jetlag got the better of Farr, who had 11 points, 14 rebounds and 4 assists in the loss.
NLEX, on the other hand, hopes new acquisition Jericho Cruz will be able to help its cause. The Road Warriors haven't won in 5 games.
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