OLA ADEOGUN and Karim Abdul face off in a matchup between two of the finest big men in college basketball as Fruitas and Blackwater Sports collide in the PBA D-League Aspirants Cup on Tuesday at the San Juan gym.
The Shakers and Elite, both with 1-1 (win-loss cards), hope to stalk on the leaders in the 2 p.m. match.
The two African big men recently played a big role in their respective schools and leagues in the collegiate level, and will clash for the first time in the D-League.
They have had contrasting starts to their campaign.
Adeogun, San Beda’s Nigerian reinforcement, posted a double-double against Cebuana Lhuillier last November 8, finishing with 30 points and 13 rebounds in an auspicious debut for the Shakers.
UST’s Abdul, the Cameroonian center who finished second in the MVP race in the last UAAP, is still struggling so far, averaging only two points per outing with the Elite.
Fruitas coach Nash Racela, however, stressed that the African showdown is just a subplot.
“Ola and Karim will definitely play major roles,” Racela said. “But I think, whichever plays better team ball will end up winning. We should execute a disciplined defensive game plan against a well executing team like Blackwater.”
Blackwater Sports coach Leo Isaac hopes that Abdul will finally have a breakout game after a slow start.
“Tinitimpla pa namin si Karim,” Isaac said, noting that their prized big man from University of Santo Tomas has only been with the team for two weeks.
Meanwhile, NLEX goes for its 21st consecutive win when it takes on winless Informatics at 4 p.m.
The Road Warriors uncharacteristically struggled early against Jose Rizal University last week, although they rallied to win, 91-87, for their third victory in as many games.
NLEX coach Boyet Fernandez blamed himself for the near defeat, admitting he wanted to give everyone playing minutes.
“That (win) really wakes up everyone in the team,” said Fernandez.
Informatics lost its second consecutive game, bowing to Erase XFoliant, 79-68, last November 12.
Fernandez, however, doesn’t want to be complacent against the Icons coached by Buddy Reyes.
“We are not taking Informatics lightly. They have quality players and an experienced coach. So we need to play solid for 40 minutes and not by spurts. We also have to play defense if we intend to win,” Fernandez said.
NLEX is currently tied with Big Chill for the lead.