DEFENDING champion San Mig Coffee finally gets to unveil import Matt Rogers when the Mixers shoot for their first victory in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup in a game against Petron on Wednesday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Rogers missed the Mixers’ 75-79 debut loss to Barako Bull, 75-79 on Friday due to food poisoning, but he was well enough to be discharged from hospital the next day and practice with the team on Monday.
“I feel a lot better. I’m excited to play my first game,” Rogers told Spin.ph.
San Mig coach Tim Cone said playing without Rogers in the team’s conference opener is definitely not the ideal way to start their title defense, but he already told his boys to throw that loss out of the window.
“We started in a hole without Matt. But he’s gonna play Wednesday. Of course, Petron also came off a loss but we still see them as one of the favorites this conference just like Talk ‘N Text,” said Cone.
The 6’10” Rogers, a product of the Southwest Baptist University, averaged 20.3 points for the Mixers in the team’s three tune-up games against the ABL team San Miguel Beermen, Air21 and Rain or Shine.
Rogers easily brings size, outside shooting and rebounding to the team, but he will have his hands full against Petron’s scrappy import Renaldo Balkman, who debuted with 23 points, 14 rebounds and six blocks in the team’s 92-94 loss to Globalport.
However, the Mixers will be facing a Boosters squad that has been hit once again by injuries. The latest casualty is Fil-Am gunner Chris Lutz, who will be out for about six weeks after suffering a rib injury in the loss to Globalport.
Marcio Lassiter, on the other hand, is a game-time decision though he has said he’s raring to get back to the court since his dangerous fall during their Philippine Cup quarterfinal game against San Mig Coffee.
With the conference format shifting to 14 games instead of the original nine, All-Star forward Arwind Santos said Petron has enough time to make the adjustments and get its campaign untracked.
“Kailangan lang kalimutan na itong nangyari. First game pa lang. Di naman ibig sabihing natalo kami, iyan na ang magiging resulta,” said Santos.