NORMAN Black said he expects youthful slotman Rabeh Al-Hussaini to step up big in the PBA Commissioner's Cup as veteran forward Kelly Williams takes an indefinite leave of absence.
Al-Hussaini, the 2010-2011 PBA Rookie of the Year, has seen limited action during his first 10 games as he battles for playing time against the Texters’ talented frontline.
But with Williams out indefinitely as he battles a recurring ailment, Black said Al-Hussaini will be playing a bigger role for the Tropang Texters especially as they make a big push with four games left before the playoffs.
"That's the reason why we have Rabeh to contribute. He's the type of player who needs more playing time to get things done. His playing minutes will definitely go up," Black said as they prepare for Wednesday's match against defending champion San Mig Coffee at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Tip off is at 7:30 p.m., with the Tropang Texters hoping to shake off the aftereffects of their 31-point blowout loss to the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters on Palm Sunday. The Texters have a 5-5 win-loss record, while the Mixers hold a 5-6 card.
Al-Hussaini, who is averaging 5.9 points and 2.3. rebounds this conference, is expected to share the work at power forward with the comebacking Ali Peek.
The 6-foot-4 Peek is playing just his first game this conference since undergoing minor knee surgery after the team won its third straight Philippine Cup title.
"Well, we get one guy back then lose a guy. So it's been that type of conference for us," added Black, who was notified by the team doctors that Williams is out indefinitely due to the side effects caused by the steroids the 6'6" forward is taking the last four years.
Black said he hopes to see his team play a more consistent defense, especially against a San Mig team that is loaded with scorers led by last season's Best Import Denzel Bowles, James Yap and Peter June Simon.
San Mig's roller coaster ride continued after absorbing a tough 100-105 loss to Barako Bull on Easter Sunday.