FEBRUARY 13 is Ash Wednesday or the start of the Lenten season for Roman Catholics.
In the 2013 PBA Commissioner’s Cup, it’s the fourth playdate of the elimination round with games between Meralco and Alaska in the 5:15 p.m. first game and defending champion San Mig Coffee against Petron Blaze in the 7:30 p.m. main game.
The Boosters are hoping to bounce back from a 94-92 loss to Philippine Cup cellar-dweller Globalport in the conference-opening game last Friday.
Looking at the bigger picture, Petron Blaze is looking to improve not just on its disappointing seventh-place finish in the Philippine Cup but also on its past two campaigns in this particular conference. The Boosters finished ninth and failed to advance to the playoffs in the last two stagings of the Commissioner’s Cup.
While Petron Blaze is the former San Miguel Beer squad and is still under the San Miguel Corporation umbrella, one would think that its company - named so after its brewery opened on the feast day of St. Michael the Archangel in 1890 - would be favored by the heavens on red-letter Catholic days such as Ash Wednesday, for instance.
Its head coach’s nickname – Olsen - was even coined from another red-letter day on the Catholic calendar, All Saints Day or November 1, which is Rodericko Racela’s birthday.
But Petron Blaze has lost its last two Ash Wednesday games and three of its last four, the most recent on March 9, 2011 also in the Commissioner’s Cup elims, a 94-92 loss to Alaska.
The worst part is the Boosters are up against a franchise that has won its last three Ash Wednesday games and four of its five games on that day overall, the best record among the active teams.
Petron Blaze is hoping things will be different this time around since its previous losses on this particular day were during the days when the team was still known as San Miguel Beer, and San Mig Coffee was still winning when it was still known as Purefoods.
On February 17, 2010, Purefoods won over San Miguel Beer 97-84 in Game Four of their best-of-7 semifinal in the 2009-10 Philippine Cup.
Not surprisingly, in PBA history, the team with the best record on Ash Wednesdays is disbanded team Sta. Lucia which was undefeated in three games on that day.
The PBA recently didn’t have games on Wednesday not until 1999.