RAIN or Shine fields a beefy lineup that tries to rival that of San Miguel Beer when it opens its PBA Commissioner’s Cup campaign on Friday night against Alaska at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.
The Elasto Painters parade import Reggie Johnson, who teams up with Beau Belga for the new Extra Rice Inc. duo that the team hopes will hold their ground against the league’s top big men, led by June Mar Fajardo, and the rest of the imports.
“Yeah, and actually sa mga imports, nandyan si Onuaku, si Joshua Smith (when he returns to TNT).” ROS coach Caloy Garcia said ahead of their conference debut against the Aces in the 7 p.m. game.
“He’s really big. He knows how to use his weight,” he added of Johnson. “Definitely, we have somebody who can go to the post. Ang kagandahan pa, yung shooting niya sa free throws, he’s shooting well so far.”
Johnson passed the initial conditioning test by playing in three tune-up games in three straight days last week.
“The reason why we played three consecutive tune-up games is just to get our import into shape, at the same time to get to know the physicality of the game in the Philippines,” Garcia said.
The E-Painters went 2-1-1 (win-loss-draw) in tune-up games overall, beating Blackwater and Meralco, losing to Phoenix, and holding Columbian Dyip to a draw.
James Yap is expected to be back in action after missing the last four games of the Philippine Cup due to a calf injury, but the E-Painters will miss rookie Rey Nambatac for at least the first two games due to a minor knee injury.
In his place, the E-Painters have activated fellow freshman JK Casiño who will be making his PBA debut.
The E-Painters are facing an Aces side that’s putting to the test Tony Campbell, who has flashes his outside game, but his inside game remains to be seen.
Meralco, coming off a 116-103 win over Columbian Dyip last Wednesday, immediately returns to action, taking on GlobalPort in the first game at 4:30 p.m.