GLOBALPORT tries to bounce back from a stinging defeat when the Batang Pier collide with struggling Air21 Express on Wednesday in the PLDT myDSL-PBA Philippine Cup at the Mall of Asia Arena.
The Batang Pier-Express match starts at 5:45 p.m. for the curtain raiser of an explosive Christmas Day double-header. The second game starts at 8 p.m. with Barangay Ginebra going up against Petron Blaze.
The Batang Pier are currently occupying the fifth spot with an even 4-4 record after seeing their three-game winning streak snapped by the San Mig Super Coffee Mixers last week.
Rookie center Justin Chua’s errant pass in the waning seconds, intended for Sol Mercado, was intercepted by San Mig’s cat-quick guard Mark Barroca and the Mixers went on to escape with a 83-80 win.
Despite the loss, Mercado said the Batang Pier’s strong performance last week only shows they are no longer the type of team that would simply roll over and die.
“I think everyone knows now we’re gonna compete every game. We’re not a team that will just roll over. That’s (loss to San Mig) just breaks of the game. We beat them on the rebound, played hard and we’re not going to hang our head a bit,” Mercado said, who leads the team in scoring this season with 19.3 points per contest to go along with his 4.5 rebounds and 4.6 assists.
Globalport coach Ritchie Ticzon said the key to beating the Express is neutralizing Asi Taulava, who is coming off a 23-point-11-rebound performance in the team’s 82-87 loss to Talk ’N Text on Sunday.
“We have to stop Taulava at the post. And also defend their scorers and shooters,” said Ticzon, whose team will also try to find ways to prevent Mac-mac Cardona, Nino Canaleta and Joseph Yeo from finding their rhythm.