GLOBALPORT parades a newly-retooled roster when it clashes with Air21 in the opener of the PBA Governors Cup on Wednesday at the Mall of Asia Arena.
Shooting guard Gary David will not see action for Globalport this week after the tough Fiba-Asia Championship where Gilas Pilipinas won silver and booked a spot in the world meet, and focus will instead be on Batang Pier’s new big men Jay Washington and rookie center Yousef Taha.
David has been given a short break by team management, putting the spotlight on Globalport’s reinforced frontline when it goes up against Air21 at 5:15 p.m.
The 6-foot-7 Washington said he sees the transfer to Globalport as a fresh start in his eight-year PBA career, which for the past two seasons has gone through turbulent times.
Globalport coach Junel Baculi said with a player of Washington’s caliber, the offense should be stronger with a legitimate outside threat that can easily complement the games of veteran guards Solomon Mercado, Willie Miller and Gary David.
“We’re very eager to play and we’re excited. Now it’s just a matter of racking up the Ws (wins) this conference as we go along,” Baculi said, whose team has been training for more than two months as part of its early preparation for the season-ending conference.
Baculi also hopes the team could fast-track the development and allow newcomers Washington and Taha, plus import Markeith Cummings to quickly get into the rhythm, especially with a compact nine-game elimination round.
“Our pre-season games are not a good gauge of where we are as a team but that has helped us build chemistry. Ang maganda lang ngayon, mas marami kaming bigs,” said the fiery Globalport mentor.
Air21 has upgraded its frontline as well during the conference-break with the acquisition of center Carlo Sharma and do-it-all rookie forward Vic Manuel from Meralco.
Sharma and Manuel arrived at Air1’s camp in exchange for shooter John Wilson and Nonoy Baclao a month ago.
Sharma is the latest piece in a 'La Salle reunion' at Air21 under his former college coach Franz Pumaren, joining former Archers Mike Cortez, Simon Atkins, and Renren Ritualo.
Pumaren is also banking on import Zach Graham to provide the much-needed firepower, the way he did last season when he averaged 37.5 points, 12.5 rebounds and 3.7 assists in more than 44 minutes of action.