AFTER an eight-day respite, San Mig Coffee wheels back into action against preseason favorite Petron Blaze in Sunday’s PBA Philippine Cup main game at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
The Mixers (1-0) are playing just their second game of the two-week-old PBA 38th season following their smashing 103-83 win over the Alaska Aces on October 5 at the Big Dome. They clash with the souped-up Boosters (1-1) at 6:30 p.m.
The weeklong rest gave San Mig Coffee forwards Jean Marc Pingris and Joe Devance time to get back to game-shape after hurting their ankle and knee, respectively, prior to the start of the season.
Devance hurt his knee four months ago and had been inactive since, but the 6-foot-7 Fil-Am played 11 minutes during the Mixers’ 20-point blowout win against the Aces, logging in two points, one rebound and two assists.
“It’s nice to have Joe back and give him a few minutes since four months ago. He just needs to be in game shape and lose some weight. He’s gonna be a nice weapon for us out there,” noted Cone, who will miss high-leaping JC Intal with a knee injury.
Petron’s rookie coach Olsen Racela said there is nothing much to celebrate following the team’s 98-89 victory over Barako Bull on Wednesday night. For one, Racela said the team’s defense remains a big concern at this point.
“In our last game, we gave up 102 points. That’s just too many points to give up. So isa pang wino-work out namin is defense,” explained Racela.
The Boosters bowed to the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters 102-86 on October 3.
But against the Energy Cola, the Boosters were able to improve on their defense, allowing just 89 points while making some big stops during the fourth period after Barako Bull tried to rally behind newly- acquired point guard Josh Urbiztondo.
Petron’s team consultant Rajko Toroman said San Mig Coffee is a dangerous squad to play because it has the size, the championship spunk and the multi-titled coach in Tim Cone on its side.
“San Mig Coffee has the size, so we need to really get the ball to the open man. We want our players to just follow the system and have more ball movement. We can’t simply rely on our three-point shooting or June Mar (Fajardo),” explained Toroman.
Cone said he’s glad to have the 6’8” center Yancy de Ocampo because his experience and size can easily match up against the 6’10” Fajardo.
De Ocampo, the former St. Francis of Assissi standout, opened the season with a game-high 22 points, 13 rebounds, six assists and two blocked shots in 36 minutes.
In the 4:15 p.m. curtain raiser, the Alaska Aces look to break into the win column after opening the season with back-to-back losses as they take on the Barako Bull Energy Cola.