PETRON Blaze and Air21, two teams at the center of a trade talk, collide in a crucial tiff on Wednesday as action in the PBA Governors Cup heats up at the Mall of Asia Arena.
The Boosters (2-1) are coming off a 99-84 drubbing of the Rain or Shine E-Painters last week, and will try to ride on that momentum heading into their 5:15 p.m. match up with the Express (1-2).
New Petron rookie coach Gee Abanilla said the constant challenge is how to handle a talented team and turn it into a championship squad.
“My job is to make the transition as smooth as possible,” said Abanilla, who took over from former head coach Olsen Racela more than a month ago.
“Our lineup is talented. Now it’s just a matter of letting the players work within the system. I’m just doing my job, of instilling discipline and the (right) attitude to the players. We just need to be consistent in winning and of course, chemistry is important,” he added.
Petron star forward Arwind Santos said as team, they’ve already put behind the drama the team has had this season, which had been labeled as “Petronovela.”
“Past na yan (Petronovela) eh. Di na importanteng pag-usapan iyan. Ang mahalaga, kailangan lang naming pangalagaan ang mga nagawa naming maganda this conference. Basta nagpapasalamat pa rin kami, kahit paano nagiging okay na takbo ng team namin,” explained the 6-foot-4 Santos.
The Boosters are facing an Express squad that is said to be keen on releasing starting point guard Mike Cortez in exchange for a Meralco’s two-guard Macmac Cardona, who has yet to play in three games for the Meralco Bolts due to a calf injury.
On the other hand, sources mentioned that Air21 is also in negotiations with Petron on a deal that would bring the seldom-used, high-flying scorer Joseph Yeo to the Express camp in exchange for the team’s first-round draft pick in 2014, and another with Ginebra for Kerby Raymundo.
Air21 coach Franz Pumaren chose to keep mum on the trade issues, except to say that "it's important for the Express to take care of their own business this conference."