WHEN the PBA Governors Cup kicks off on August 14, expect a tough, rugged Globalport team - one that will finally personify its 'Batang Pier' name.
Team owner Mikee Romero has assured that the rejigged Batang Pier side will be a lean, mean fighting machine in the season-ending tournament, embracing the tough and physical brand of basketball the team had been for in the old PBL and the Asean Basketball League.
“'Yung character na makikita niyo sa team namin pisikalan. Hindi natatakot makipagpalitan ng mukha. Palaban!” said Romero minutes after his team dealt the Barangay Ginebra Kings an 82-69 drubbing in a tune-up game.
Here are VIDEO highlights of the tune-up match:
That match alone was marked by physicality that sidelined Ginebra wingmen Dylan Ababou (shoulder injury off a hard foul of Mark Yee) and Josh Urbiztondo (hamstring) for the rest of the game.
Ginebra also played minus Kerby Raymundo (knee pain) and Jayjay Helterbrand (flu) while high-flying guard Chris Ellis was still bothered by dehydration.
Globalport's brand of play will be akin to Rain or Shine's, Romero vowed.
“Para na kaming Rain or Shine ngayon o siguro mas higit pa,” said Romero of his team’s new approach to games. “Batang Pier nga eh … Palaban na kami sa depensa, sa opensa!”
Globalport coach Junel Baculi sees the team as a work in progress as he breaks in new players like Jay Washington, Yousif Taha, Chad Alonzo, Marvin Hayes, Hans Thiele, Brian Faundo and promising import Markeith Cummings.
“Talagang aggressiveness ang mukha ng team ngayon. We’ll keep on working for the next two weeks on our weaknesses and exploit our strength,” said Baculi, whose team has now tallied wins over Barako Bull, Bahrain and Ginebra with the solitary loss against defending champion Rain or Shine.
Team manager BJ Manalo said it's too early to gauge the team’s readiness based solely on the preseason wins: “Magandang mga signs pero practice game pa rin ito. There’s still a lot of room for improvement.”