SURPRISE package Barako Bull returns from a week-long respite and tries to grab a share of the lead against a dangerous Rain or Shine side in the PLDT myDSL-Philippine on Sunday at the Mall of Asia Arena.
Game time is at 5:15 p.m.
The Energy Cola hit a franchise-best 17 three-point shots that propelled them to a pulsating 97-93 victory over the Alaska Aces last week and hope to see their long bombs hit their mark anew as they try to join Ginebra and Petron on top of the standings at 3-0.
Ronjay Buenafe, the first Accel-PBA Press Corps. Player of the Week for the season, fired a season-high 27 points, including seven triples to give Barako Bull a 2-0 start.
However, coach Bong Ramos said it is still too early to say how far this team will go in the all-Filipino conference.
“It’s (game against Alaska) only the second game. Marami pa, 12 games pa, so we just need to stay positive,” said Ramos, whose team has been much maligned during the offseason for trading away its first round picks in exchange for veteran players.
Ramos said with a team of veterans, their game remains simple — share the ball to give everyone on the floor an opportunity to score when open.
On the other hand, Rain or Shine coach Yeng Guiao said the team’s 2-1 start isn’t bad after all, given the 14-game elimination round.
“It’s a long conference so at 2-1, that’s good for us already. We’re not discouraged or down at this point,” said Guiao.
Four Rain or Shine veterans are leading the scoring by averaging in double-figures and the long tournament gives Guiao the luxury of breaking in his rookie at their pace, as they adjust to the physical game in the PBA.
“Di ko sila (rookies) kailangang biglain. Pero if they are ready, I can give them more playing time. Ang importante lang eh mabigyan sila ng confidence to play in this level,” said Guiao of Jeric Teng, Alex Nuyles and center Raymond Almazan.
Jeff Chan and big man Beau Belga are averaging 14.0 and 11.0 points, respectively, while Ryan Arana is off to his best scoring start with his 13.0 points per game norm. Larry Rodriguez, who usually comes off the bench, submits 10.0 points.