BARAKO Bull tries to pounce on an incomplete Talk ’N Text squad when they tangle in the PBA Governors Cup on Friday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
The Energy Cola, who have been practicing for close to three months during the conference break, clash with the Tropang Texters at 5:15 p.m.
Four of coach Norman Black’s key players — forwards Ranidel de Ocampo and Larry Fonacier as well as veteran guards Jason Castro and Jimmy Alapag — are on a break after helping lead Gilas Pilipinas to a second place finish in the Fiba Asia Championship that earned the country a berth to the Fiba World Cup next year in Spain.
“The national players will miss at least three games as the management has given them time off to let them recover from the grind of the Fiba-Asia competition,” Black said. “We will do the best we can with our remaining players.”
“It will be a difficult challenge but the sacrifice has been worth it because we are headed to Spain,” added Black, who was one of Gilas coach Chot Reyes’ deputies.
Still, Barako Bull coach and consultant Rajko Toroman believes Talk ’N Text remains a dangerous squad with high-scoring import Tony Mitchell, who in his three-game exposure as a late replacement in the Commissioner’s Cup, churned out averages of 38.6 points, 11.3 rebounds and 2.3 assists in 38.6 minutes.
“He (Mitchell) has shown he’s a great scorer so we will really try to put defenders on him,” added Toroman.
Toroman said import Mike Singletary is a perfect fit for his system that thrives on perimeter shooting and a lot of ball movement.
“I think we’re ready for this conference. We felt Mike can be a fit for our team and with about three months working together, we’re optimistic of our goal of making the quarterfinals,” Toroman said.
But the 6’4” Mitchell will still need the scoring help from locals like Ryan Reyes, Ali Peek, former Barako Bull forward Sean Anthony and center Rabeh Al-Hussaini.