THE new Alaska 1-2 punch Romeo Travis and Calvin Abueva will finally be tested in an official match as the Aces take on the Marcus Douthit-powered expansion squad Blackwater on Tuesday in the opener of the PBA Governors Cup at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
The Aces duo hit it off quickly in tuneup matches and focus is now on Travis, a teammate of LeBron James in high school at St. Vincent-St. Mary, and Abueva, who recently signed a three-year contract extension.
The Aces were given two weeks off after an early quarterfinal exit from the Commissioner’s Cup, but it has been hard training after that and coach Alex Compton is hoping to see the team start with high energy.
“I think having two full weeks off was really good for our guys. Hopefully, we are a bit more refreshed and energetic heading into the game and this whole conference,” said Compton.
The match starts at 4:15 p.m.
Blackwater won three games in the second conference after drawing a blank in the season-opener, and now hope to do much better.
Douthit, Gilas’ naturalized big man, will be back for his second straight tour of duty for Blackwater. The 6-foot-10 standout from Providence averaged 22.0 points, 14.4 rebounds, 3.8 assists, 3.1 blocks and 1.2 steals in 10 games for the Elite last conference.
“We know Blackwater is a well-coached and hardworking team and they have a great import in Marcus Douthit, bit we’ll see how we can respond after having a tough conference in the Commissioner’s Cup,” said Compton.
The Elite upgraded their roster with the acquisition of Reil Cervantes late in the Commissioner’s Cup. The 6-foot-3 Cervantes is coming off PBA career-best numbers of 13.6 points and 4.6 rebounds during his 18-game stint with KIA this season.
He was traded to Blackwater in exchange for sophomore guard Alex Nuyles.