AIR21 hopes the entry of high scoring guard MacMac Cardona could inject a much-needed life in its skidding campaign in the PLDT MyDSL-PBA Philippine Cup.
Cardona will be suiting up in his first game with the Express Sunday when they tackle an equally struggling San Mig Super Coffee side in a battle between winless teams at the Mall of Asia Arena.
The former De La Salle star missed the team’s first three games of the conference after suffering a sprained MCL (media collateral ligament) on his left knee when he slipped on a wet spot during practice just days before the league’s new season kicked off.
The entry of Cardona will somehow give additional firepower for Air21 in its 3 p.m. clash against the injury-plagued Mixers.
The Express are coming off an embarrassing 79-112 defeat at the hands of Meralco last Wednesday.
“Maglalaro na ako bukas,” Cardona confirmed to Spin.ph. “Okay na naman ako sa practice. Nakakasabay na naman ako, kahit may sakit ng konti ang tuhod.”
“Akala ko nga nun na-strain ko lang ang groin ko, `yun pala sa tuhod. Pero ngayon, stay positive pa rin kami. Matagal pa naman yung liga,” he added.
The man known as “Captain Hook” averaged 12.1 points, 3.6 rebounds, and 1.6 rebounds during his 43-game stint with Meraclco last season before landing at Air21 in a trade during the offseason.
Just like the Express, the Mixers are also in a bind as they face various issues entering the new season.
San Mig Super Coffee is actually one month removed from a winning the Governors Cup championship, although it opened the All-Filipino conference with injuries to forward Joe Devance (patellar tendinitis) and guard Peter June Simon (tendinitis on Achilles).
Worse, athletic rookie guard Justin Melton broke his left ring finger during the team’s 69-86 season-opening loss to Barangay Ginebra.
San Mig forward Marc Pingris, the Finals MVP of the Governors Cup, however said there’s no excuse to the team’s woeful start in the tournament.
“Kailangan naming pag-handaan ang laro sa practice at mag-hard work. Kailangan pag-handaan ang sinasabi ni coach (Tim Cone). Minsan kasi di namin nasusunud eh,” said Pingris, who is averaging 11.3 points, 8.0 rebound and 3.3 assists in the Mixers’ first three games.