AFTER dropping its first game of the season, Petron Blaze is expected to bounce back strong when it clashes with Barako Bull as action in the PBA Philippine Cup resumes on Wednesday night at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
The Boosters, victims of the upset-conscious Rain or Shine Elasto Painters a week ago, 102-86, take on the dangerous Energy Cola in the 7:30 p.m. match.
Petron’s rookie coach Olsen Racela expects another physical game against a Barako Bull five that upsized its frontline featuring Doug Kramer and Sean Anthony with the addition of Enrico Villanueva during the offseason.
Another big news for the Energy Cola is Danny Seigle, whom Barako Bull coach Junel Baculi said, will be seeing action against Petron.
The 6-foot-7 Seigle missed Barako Bull’s first game of the season against Air21 due to the flu. But the nine-time PBA All-Star forward is expected to play Wednesday night against the Boosters, a team that is looking for a confidence-building victory.
“We’re lucky because the schedule permits us to play against Petron six days after (the game against Air21). But that’s (Petron’s) a tough team,” noted Baculi, whose boys are coming off a close 90-87 win against the Express.
It would be interesting to see though how the veteran 6’5” Villanueva will hold his own against the 6’10” Petron rookie center June Mar Fajardo.
Fajardo, shocked and shaken up by Rain or Shine’s bruising big men during his first game as a pro, said he is still adjusting to the PBA brand of play.
“Nag-aadjust pa ako, nahirapan pa ako. Pero try ko na matutunan rin agad paglaro sa PBA. Siyempre, malaki pinagkaiba ng preseason sa laro ngayon…Tingin ko sa mga susunod na games, makaka-adjust na rin ako,” explained the former University of Cebu star center, who had nine points, 12 rebounds and two blocks against Rain or Shine.
In the 5:15 p.m. curtain raiser, preseason tournament favorite Alaska tries to move on after an embarrassing loss to San Mig Coffee when the Aces take on the Meralco Bolts.
The Aces, one of the top performing teams during the offseason, failed to bring their A-game and were drubbed by the Mixers, 103-83 last week.
The Bolts, meantime, nearly pulled off a huge upset win against two-time Philippine Cup champion Talk ’N Text after coming back from a 24-point deficit, only to fall short in overtime 110-112.
“We’re gonna have our hands full against Meralco. The guys they got (during the offseason) like Sunday (Salvacion) and Ronjay (Buenafe) tailor-fit the style of play of Sol (Mercado) and Mac-mac (Cardona),” said Alaska coach Luigi Trillo.
Still without “the Beast” Calvin Abueva, whom the Aces drafted second overall in last August’s Annual Draft but is still seeing action for San Sebastian in the NCAA, Alaska will be relying again on its veteran core of Sonny Thoss, Tony dela Cruz, Cyrus Baguio and transferees Dondon Hontiveros and JV Casio.
Casio, the sophomore guard Alaska acquired in a trade during the offseason to replace LA Tenorio, is expected to bounce back from a forgettable debut in the Aces uniform.
The former Smart Gilas starting point guard only scored three points on a cold one-of-nine shooting from the field against San Mig Coffee last week.