UNDERMANNED San Mig Coffee plays its first game without two suspended players as it takes on sister team Barangay Ginebra when both teams resume their respective bid for a better shot at one of the top four spots in the PBA Governors Cup Sunday at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.
The Mixers (2-3) won’t have power forward Marc Pingris and Joe Devance when they go up against the Kings (2-3) in their 6:30 p.m. setto.
Pingris is serving the first of a two-game suspension, while Devance sits this one as well for their involvement in the brawl that marred the San Mig-Globalport match last Wednesday.
The 6-foot-5 Pingris, who was also slapped with a P60,000 fine, engaged rookie Kelly Nabong in a fistfight during the highly physical match, while Devance was also fined P30,000 for triggering
the commotion that led to the fight.
“Every time you lose two big guys like Pingris and Joe Devance that would be big. They help us a great deal on the defensive side and Joe’s ball handling and perimeter game. So it’s gonna be very
difficult for us,” admitted San Mig coach Tim Cone.
The Mixers won the match, 102-88.
The multi-titled league mentor said he already expected the hefty fines and suspensions to come upon seeing his two big men got involved in the fracas.
“We were prepared for the repercussions though it’s hard to replace those guys,” he added.
Good thing Cone sees the game as an even one as the Kings won’t also have injured athletic center Japeth Aguilar (sprained MCL on his right knee) and Kerby Raymundo (bruised knee).
“Japeth won’t be there, so at least we don’t have to prepare for something against him, as well as Kerby,” he said.
Cone said sweeping the team’s last four games is a must if the Mixers hope to break in to the top four of the standings, which would guarantee a twice-to-beat incentive heading into the quarterfinals.
The Kings are coming off a 106-93 drubbing of the Air21 Express on Wednesday behind import Dior Lowhorn’s 35-point explosion and LA Tenorio’s near triple-double effort of 18 points, 14 assists, and seven rebounds.