BARAKO Bull shoots for a share of second place when it goes up against unpredictable Air21 as PBA Commissioner’s Cup action continues on Friday night at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City.
The Energy Cola have been a surprise package this conference after winning their first two games, before dropping a close 73-77 decision against unbeaten Alaska Aces.
The boys of coach Bong Ramos and consultant Rajko Toroman have an opportunity to get back on track against the Express (1-1), whom they face at 5:15 p.m. They hope to join idle Petron Blaze (3-1) in second behind Alaska (3-0).
Josh Urbiztondo, Barako Bull’s starting playmaker, said they simply have to forget what happened in their game against the Aces and move on with a more aggressive approach versus the Express.
“That’s just our first loss against Alaska so there’s no reason to get discouraged or feel down,” Urbiztondo told Spin.ph.
“Great teams bounce back. Hopefully we could put that away as we go out against Air21. Hope to be the aggressor and try to get the win.”
The 6-foot-1 Urbiztondo has been averaging career-bests in scoring (18.6 points) and rebounds (5.6 boards), while adding 3.6 assists in 41.3 minutes during the team’s first three games.
While he has been playing a lot of minutes under Barako Bull’s new system, Urbiztondo believes things will soon begin to normalize as swingman JC Intal gets used to Toroman's system.
“We got a group of great guys who work hard. And JC is back so he can fill in some spot. We have guys who can give us different looks on offense. In fact, there are so many options in our offense,” he added.
On the other hand, Air21 coach Franz Pumaren said they can’t afford to have another bad start the same way they did last week in an 83-86 loss to Talk ’N Text.
“We can’t afford to have a flat start. We were so complacent from the start against Talk ’N Text,” said Pumaren.
Pumaren hopes that his import Michael Dunigan will also get more touches at the post, where he operates best. But the Air21 mentor added that other plays just can’t afford to stand around and watch Dunigan play one on one.
“We were not in proper positions and we’re not doing the proper spacing against Talk ’N Text with Michael. I’ve talked to Michael and we will make the necessary adjustments against Barako Bull,” he added.