STREAKING Barako Bull gets its first acid test opposite Talk ‘N Text in a battle between two unbeaten teams in the PBA Governors Cup Friday at the Ynares Center in Antipolo City.
The Energy won their first two games in the season-ending conference after beating NLEX (101-96) and trampling winless Blackwater (105-90).
Heavyweight import Liam McMorrow and wingman JC Intal have anchored the Energy’s fast start.
The 7-foot McMorrow, who is coming off a stint with Halifax Rainmen in NBL-Canada, averages monster numbers of 28.0 points and 18.5 rebounds in complementing the athletic Intal, recipient of the conference’s first Accel-PBA Press Corps Player of the week, who is norming 20.5 points and 9.0 rebounds.
The Energy will try to pounce on a Talk ‘N Text side that still won’t have stars Ranidel de Ocampo (knee) and Jayson Castro, who will be resting for the second straight game since coming off a highly-physical Commissioner’s Cup title series it won over Rain or Shine.
Outside of De Ocampo and Castro, the Tropang Texters also won’t have rookie guard Kevin Alas and defensive stopper Aron Aban, both nursing foot and shoulder, injuries respectively.
“Pahinga pa rin sila (De Ocampo and Castro). We’ll see if they play by next week,” said Talk ‘N Text coach Jong Uichico.
Game time is at 4:15 p.m.
Imports Steffphon Pettigrew and Jordanian Sam Daghlas are expected to carry the brunt for the injury-depleted Talk ‘N Text team, even as veteran forward Danny Seigle also tries to contribute off the bench the way he did in the Tropang Texters’ 95-91 win over Ginebra.
Pettigrew, a standout of Western Kentucky University, debuted with 33 points, 12 rebounds, four steals and three blocks in the Ginebra victory.
On the other hand, Daghlas, a fixture in numerous Fiba-Asia Men’s Championships while playing for Jordan, scored 12 points and added six assists in his first game in Asia’s pioneering pro league.
Uichico admitted playing with an incomplete roster against a Barako Bull squad that has a dominant import in the middle would pose a gigantic problem on the team defensively.
“Having that handicap (playing against a bigger import) is a problem in itself unlike in the last conference that we have a 6-8 import,” he said.
“But now it’s different. It won’t look the same as last conference. It will be harder that’s why we have to find a way to contend with their big import.”