PETRON tries to extend its surprising run to three wins, while San Mig Coffee hopes to finally shake off its sluggish start when the injury-riddled Boosters and Mixers collide on Wednesday in the PLDT myDSL-PBA Philippine Cup at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.
The Boosters began its campaign in the All-Filipino conference with back-to-back wins and will ride on that momentum against the Mixers, who have lost two straight.
Petron will continue to miss playmakers Alex Cabagnot (torn plantar fascia) and Chico Lanete (hamstring), along with defensive ace Ronald Tubid (knee) and newly-acquired big man Yousef Taha.
Fil-Am guard Chris Ross, another offseason acquisition, will also miss Wednesday’s match due to a hamstring injury, leaving Petron with just one healthy point guard in Paolo Hubalde.
Game time is at 8 p.m.
Petron coach Gee Abanilla, meanwhile, sees the injury problem as an opportunity to strengthen the Boosters’ character.
“We will just fight it (injury problems) through and try to hold the fort,” said Abanilla, whose team placed second behind San Mig in last season’s Governors Cup.
“We want to build character in our team and show some resiliency even when faced with adversity.”
San Mig Super Coffee is also dealing with injury issues, but coach Tim Cone isn’t too worried.
Fil-Am forward Joe Devance is still dealing with patellar tendinitis on his knee, while Peter June Simon has tendinitis on his Achilles.
Rookie guard Justin Melton went down with a fractured left ring finger during the team’s season-opening, 69-86 loss to Barangay Ginebra.
Athletic forward Allein Maliksi, on the other hand, isn’t expected to be back until April 2014 due to an ACL (anterior crucial ligament) tear in his left knee.
Cone isn’t pressing the panic button, confident that they have enough healthy players to hold the fort while the three recover from injuries.
“Well, we still got guys out and are not coming back soon,” said Cone.
“But it’s a long conference. And we expect to get there (winning run) because at some point in the conference, we can get the run,” he added.
The Mixers started last season’s Governors Cup at 1-3 but managed to get their bearings back and eventually won the championship, Cone’s 15th title and the franchise’s 10th since joining the league in 1988.