GLOBALPORT hopes to have sorted out energy management issues as it takes on powerhouse Talk ’N Text on Wednesday in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Justin Williams has no doubt been the main power source for Globalport, but the 6-foot-10 import overexerted himself and failed to finish the game against Barako Bull, resulting in the team’s lone loss in three outings.
Now coach Junel Baculi hopes Williams would be able to pace himself and the other Batang Pier would step up to share the load when they battle the Texters at 5:15 p.m.
“Another tough opponent, but we’ll see if we can really compete now against the big boys so to speak,” Baculi said, whose team is fresh from an 89-80 victory against Barangay Ginebra recently.
Williams is averaging 17.6 points along with 21.6 rebounds and 4.6 blocks, both league-best this conference, while Sol Mercado norms 16 points and 13.33 assists. Japeth Aguilar and Gary David has also been delivering decent numbers, but Baculi could still use some support from other Batang Pier.
Baculi admits his prized American reinforcement from Wyoming has been providing the energy, the hustle and the intimidating presence, which the Batang Pier sorely missed during the Philippine Cup.
But he has cautioned Williams to pace himself or he might wear himself out, which happened in Globalport’s 88-98 overtime loss to Barako Bull.
Williams, who collared a season-high 27 rebounds, failed to finish the game after suffering leg cramps.
“After the Barako Bull game, I talked to him (Williams). He got 27 rebounds against Barako Bull. He’s a tough cookie. But I told him he has to play smart … Play the PBA kind of basketball. The more games he plays, the more he can be accustomed to playing in the PBA,” explained Baculi.
The Tropang Texters, meanwhile, are slowly regaining their form as evidenced by their 86-83 win against the Air21 Express.
Norman Black admitted it was an ugly win after watching his team’s 22-point lead evaporate in the final period as Air21 forward KG Canaleta’s went on a fourth-quarter three-point shooting spree.
“Probably one of the reasons the game was close (against Air21) is we didn’t play our best game. We’ll have to do a lot better. But again, we have a long way to go. It’s just a matter of piling up wins and bouncing back,” explained Black.
Talk ’N Text will continue to miss man-mountain center Ali Peek, who is still recovering from a minor knee surgery, though Black expects a lot more from his import Keith Benson.
The 6-11 Benson earned Best Player of the Game honors in their win against the Express after piling up 30 points, 18 rebounds, two assists and two blocks.
“He was better than the first game. But I’m just a little bit worried if he could stay out of foul trouble because it could hurt our defense,” said Black. “That’s something we are looking at and still evaluating in the next games.”