LIFE without consultant Rajko Toroman begins for Petron Friday when Olsen Racela finally calls the shots for the team on a full-time basis opposite newcomer Globalport in the PBA Philippine Cup main game at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.
The 7:30 p.m. match up marks the first time Toroman will not be on the side of Racela this conference after news leaked out Wednesday night that the Serbian mentor has been officially relieved from his official duty as Petron consultant.
Other than the fact that Toroman won't be anywhere near the bench on Friday, Racela said there won't be any major adjustment for the Boosters in the match against the Batang Pier.
“Okay lang naman, I'll just go about my business the same way. I'm the head coach anyway, but it's just that coach Rajko won't play an active role anymore on the bench," Racela said in a talk with Spin.ph.
Coming off a morale-boosting 98-95 win over sister-team Barangay Ginebra last Sunday, the Boosters will have to overcome the absence of big men June Mar Fajardo and Danny Ildefonso.
Rookie center Fajardo is still recuperating from surgery on his scrotum, while Ildefonso suffered a dislocated left shoulder and will most likely undergo an operation.
The good news is, Fil-Am guard Marcio Lassiter is likely to suit up against the Batang Pier, although Racela said he'll be a game time decision.
With Dorian Pena as the lone experienced big man left, Racela said youthful Magi Sison might get some playing time against Globalport, which is currently tied with Air21at the bottom of the standings on 1-4 records.
With a smaller lineup, the Boosters are expected to run the break more often, considering they have a slew of athletic and quick players like Joseph Yeo, Chris Lutz, and Arwind Santos, with Alex Cabagnot facilitating at the point guard spot.
Gary David will be missing his fourth straight game for the Batang Pier as he continues to rest his swollen left knee.
Meanwhile, Alaska tangles with Air21 in the curtain raiser at 5:15 p.m.
The Aces, tied with San Mig Coffee at 2-2, unveiled no. 2 overall pick Calvin Abueva last week against the Boosters, and the Pampanga native did not disappoint, finishing with a double-double in his debut with 12 points and 16 rebounds in the Aces’ heart-stopping 88-86 victory over the Boosters.
Air21 meanwhile, has lost its last three outings against Rain Or Shine, Talk 'N Text, and Meralco.