PETRON Blaze tries to keep its immaculate record despite nursing a crippled lineup when it goes up against Barako Bull on Wednesday in the PLDT MyDSL-PBA Philippine Cup at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.
The Boosters have done well even in the absence of injured players Alex Cabagnot (torn plantar), Chris Ross (hamstring), Ronald Tubid (knee), and Yousef Taha (knee), winning all their first three games in the season-opening tournament.
Petron coach Gee Abanilla said the Boosters will just have to carry on with the same mindset against Barako Bull (2-1), which they meet in their 5:45 p.m. showdown.
“We’re taking care of our injuries. So in the meantime, we just need the rest of the guys to keep holding the fort till they (Petron’s injured players) all come back,” he said.
In the absence of the four players, reigning Most Valuable Player Arwind Santos, sophomore center June Mar Fajardo, and Fil-Ams Marcio Lassiter and Chris Lutz are all averaging 37 minutes or more of playing time during the team’s 3-0 start.
Abanilla said Petron is trying to ride its strength mainly the presence of Santos and Fajardo at the post, and the hot shooting hands of both Lassiter and Lutz at the wings.
“It’s efficient to work the ball inside because in our case, we have June Mar Fajardo. But we also want to get the ball to the perimeter if needed,” he added.
The 6-foot-10 Fajardo has been a monster in his first three games, averaging 15.3 points, 17.6 rebounds, 2.3 assists, and 2.3 blocks - all career-highs for the 24-year-old center from Cebu.
But Abanilla said the Boosters are not taking the Energy Cola lightly because of their veteran-laden roster and their ability to shoot well from beyond the arc.
Barako Bull is averaging 12.1 three-point shots made during its first three outings, including a franchise-best 17 triples in its 97-93 victory over the struggling Alaska Aces.