Barako Bull tries to bounce back as Blackwater Elite try to salvage season
Koy Banal and the Energy eye their third win of the season but are wary of an Elite squad aching to finally get a victory. Jerome Ascano

DESPITE Blackwater’s winless record, Barako Bull coach Koy Banal has issued a stern warning to his team not to take expansion team Blackwater lightly when they clash in the PBA Philippine Cup on Wednesday at the Ynares Center in Antipolo City.

Banal said the Elite’s record of 0-8 could be deceiving, considering that Blackwater coach Leo Isaac knows how to spread the offense among his veteran core of Paul Artadi, Brian Faundo and even Bambam Gamalinda.

“Ang maganda sa kanila (Blackwater), walang superstars ang team kaya naka-spread yung scoring nila sa mga beterano like si Paul Artadi, Faundo and Gamalinda, so we’ll never know sino puputok sa kanila uli,” Banal said, ahead of their 4:15 p.m. match against the Elite.

The Energy (2-6) came crashing back to earth after bowing to the Talk ’N Text Tropang Texters, 122-106, on Sunday in Binan, Laguna, putting an abrupt end to their first back-to-back victories this season.

Banal said they’ve learned their lessons after that humbling loss, hoping to get back on track as they try to solidify their playoff bid in the season-opening conference.

“We have to respect them (Elite). Just because they are 0-8, and we’re 2-6, doesn’t mean kaya na namin silang talunin. I told my players that tomorrow is a new day so we have to get back on defense kasi bilog ang bola,” he added.

Meanwhile, another loss would put an end to Blackwater’s playoff bid.

The Elite are still in search for their first win in their first conference in the PBA. But so far, that first victory has been elusive.

Blackwater is coming off an 84-104 loss to NLEX last week as evergreen big man Asi Taulava clobbered the Elite’s shorter frontline with 24 points and 10 rebounds.

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