Much-maligned Barako Bull nips Petron to sustain impressive run in preseason
JC Intal led Barako Bull with 15 points in the preseason win over Petron. Jerome Ascano

AFTER coming under fire for several controversial trades in the offseason, Barako Bull is looking to prove the doubters wrong.

The much-maligned team has continued its surprising run in the preseason, dealing PBA Governors Cup finalist Petron with a 108-104 loss in a tune-up game on Thursday.

Counting its 93-90 win over Alaska Milk and a 100-104 loss to Rain or Shine last Tuesday, Barako Bull is now 2-1 (win-loss) in the preseason just weeks after coming under fire for trading away three first-round picks as well as top players Eman Monfort and Rico Villanueva.

“It was morale-boosting win for us. Nothing more, nothing less,” said Barako Bull head coach Ramos, whose team was led By JC Intal with 15 points.

Petron played minus Alex Cabagnot, June Mar Fajardo and Ronald Tubid, but the Energy Cola were also without Mick Pennisi, Jonas Villanueva, and new acquisition Rico Maierhofer.

Veterans like Willie Miller, Dorian Pena, Ronjay Buenafe, Mark Isip, Willy Wilson and Mark Macapagal also shone for the George Chua-owned franchise by combining for 68 points.

Still, Ramos was careful not to raise expectations for the controversial team.

"I want to manage expectations because it will just cause undue pressure on my players. Basta ang amin lang, tune-up o actual game, we will give our opponents a good fight,” added Ramos.

Even Petron mentor Gee Abanilla was all praises for the Energy Cola, although he was quick to point out that his team is still at the pre-conditioning phase since it started practice just last Monday.

“Pero no excuses, Barako Bull especially their veterans are out to prove something. Ito 'yung team na hindi mo pwedeng biruin,” he said after Petron's first game of the preseason.

Abanilla bared that he is keeping a 12-man roster for now as he still evaluating some players who are trying out for spots in the team, namely Gilbert Bulawan, Jojo Duncil and rookie guard Nate Matute.

“Ito na muna siguro yung roster, pero we are still looking at players who are still looking to earn spots here,” said the former De La Salle coach.

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