STRUGGLING Barako Bull hopes to get a timely boost with the return of veteran center Dorian Pena.
Barako Bull now shares the cellar with expansion team Blackwater after suffering its fifth straight loss at the hands of Ginebra, 94-75, on Wednesday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
But new coach Koy Banal remained hopeful that the Energy can turn the corner soon with the help of Pena, who can plug the huge hole in the middle in the Energy's frontline.
Banal said Pena has already been cleared by renowned orthopedic surgeon Dr. Raul Canlas to play in the PBA Philippine Cup and will suit up as soon as he gets back in game shape.
“He’s (Pena) in the lineup actually, but we’re just waiting for him though he has the go-signal from Doc Canlas,” said Banal.
“Hinhingi niya lang is for me to help him to be in game shape, kasi iba yung ready ka na, iba yung wala ka sa game shape at wala kang kumpiyansa, eh alam naman natin kung ano maibibigay niya sa atin.”
The 37-year-old Pena battled an Achilles injury that limited him to 24 games with the Energy last season, although he managed to average modest numbers of 5.0 points and 5.6 rebounds in more than 20 minutes of action.
Despite coming off an injury, Banal expects the left-handed big man to play a big role for the Energy as they try to turn their fortunes around in the last half of the eliminations in the season-opening conference.
“I’m expecting na magkaka-difference sa susunod na half ng conference with Dorian around. Anytime naman he’s ready to play na,” he added.