AIR21 hopes to get an express delivery from newly-acquired import Wesley Witherspoon as the Express collide with Meralco in a critical PBA Commissioner’s Cup game Sunday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Witherspoon arrived in the country on Thursday to replace Herve Lamizana and has practiced only twice with the team.
The two squads, coming off tough losses, will square off at 3 p.m. before the match between unbeaten league leader Talk ’N Text (5-0) and crowd darling Barangay Ginebra (2-2).
Coach Franz Pumaren, whose team is coming off an 88-98 loss to Alaska, said the 24-year-old Witherspoon is the “best available talent,” there is who could score and defend at the same time.
“Sa last game kasi namin, nawala yung offense and defense namin nung natalo kami,” said Pumaren.
“Eh sinabi ko naman sa import ko, either you outplay the opposing import or ikaw ang ’di makaka-score. So with Wesley, we believe he can give us something that we need, which is scoring and defending."
Witherspoon is a veteran of the NBA D-League, having played with the Erie Bayhawks and the Rio Grande Valley Vipers.
The Express will be facing a Bolts side that is determined to bounce back from an embarrassing 68-91 beating at the hands of sister team Talk ’N Text Friday night.
Brian Butch, the sweet-shooting Meralco import from Wisconsin, was held to a league career-low 16 points on 6-of-21 field goal shooting by the Tropang Texters.
Meralco coach Ryan Gregorio reiterated the 6-foot-9 Butch will still be the team’s import despite reports the former NBA D-League Impact Player of the Year is on the way out to give way to Darnell Jackson.
Butch will try to redeem himself though he'll have to contend against Air21's reliable frontcourt of Fil-Tongan Asi Taulava, Mike Burtscher, and Mark Borboran.
“We have to find ways to bounce back strong. We want to stay disciplined on defense and share the ball on offense,” said Gregorio.
Two-time league scoring champion Gary David vows to be more aggressive against Air21 after being held down to a conference-low eight points on 3-of-11 shooting in the team's 23-point loss to Talk 'N Text.
"Every time bumagsak ka, bigyan mo rin ng chance makabawi kayo. Eh may pagkakamali rin akong ginawa kasi di ako naging agresibo," said the 35-year-old David.