A STINT in the coming Sinulog Cup in Cebu next week is set to give Petron a glimpse of where the team is in its buildup for the PBA Commissioner's Cup and what to expect from some of the other teams.
Coach Olsen Racela Racela said he hopes the pocket tournament down South will give him enough time to make the necessary adjustments prior to the mid-season conference that starts February 8.
Other than Petron, Alaska, crowd darling Barangay Ginebra, and a team from Cebu are also seeing action in the Sinulog Cup at the Cebu Coliseum.
Racela added the Boosters are building on the lessons learned from the team’s disappointing campaign in the last Philippine Cup, where they were eliminated early in the playoffs by sister team San Mig Coffee.
Right now, the young coach said the Boosters’ immediate goal is to improve on their seventh-place finish in the all-Filipino tournament.
“Our modest goal is to improve on the seventh place finish we had last conference, then from there, we'll see how far we will go,” said the former San Miguel Beer point guard shortly after Petron routed Globalport, 79-58, in their tune-up game on Friday at the Moro Lorenzo gym inside the Ateneo campus.
“Siyempre, the ultimate goal is to win the championship.”
Import Renaldo Balkman finished with 19 points and had a lot more energy and hustle this time to make up for his quiet 13-point output during Petron's 82-89 loss to Asean Basketball League runner-up San Miguel Beer.
For Petron to go places, Racela believes Balkman needs to get into tip-top shape and provide the intensity that was lacking in the Boosters’ Philippine Cup stint.
"Kailiangan niya makundisyon para maipakita niya yung hustle, energy at intensity sa defense. That's precisely why we brought Rey Balkman to the team," noted Racela.