ALTHOUGH KIA Motors is on a five-game slide, the Sorento are expected to face winless Barako Bull with renewed energy, thanks to absent playing coach Manny Pacquiao’s promise of a Macau trip next weekend.
With KIA team manager Eric Pineda breaking the good news over the weekend, the Sorento are extra motivated to beat the Energy in the PBA Philippine Cup on Sunday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
A win will also boost the Sorento’s playoff chances and serve as a fitting sendoff for Pacquiao as he makes his title defense against Chris Algieri on Nov. 23 in Macau.
“Iyan (beat Barako Bull) ang gusto namin mangyari, na sana manalo muna kami bago sa laban ni boss Manny. Magandang gift namin ito (win) sa kanya dahil sa kabaitan niya,” KIA caretaker coach Glen Capacio said.
The Sorento and Energy clash at 3 p.m.
Capacio said despite falling short against Alaska (85-75), he feels they have the momentum somehow when they face the Energy (0-5), who are coming off a 95-76 beating at the hands of the rampaging Barangay Ginebra Kings.
“Crucial game for us because if we win, we'll have big chance to enter the quarterfinals,” explained Capacio.
“We'll just ride on the momentum that we had against Alaska. The team is in high morale even though we lost that game.”
On the other hand, Barako Bull coach Koy Banal isn’t losing hope as the team remains winless this season.
“Tingin ko, we’re not yet used to the new things we’re trying to inject. But we’ll get there (win), matu-turnaround din namin iyan,” said Banal, who took over the coaching chores just a day before the opening of the season.
Banal said with six games to go, it is not too late to make a late run in the hope of salvaging its campaign in the season-opening conference.
“We still have hope, the important thing is just believing that everything is possible to those who believe, saka it’s not about the individual players anymore, but it’s about the team,” he added.
Veteran center Dorian Pena, who has been out since late last season due to an Achilles injury, is already in the active list and could possibly suit up against KIA.