ALASKA and vastly-improved Barako Bull dispute the solo leadership in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup as the two unbeaten teams clash Sunday at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.
Import Robert Dozier seems to be a fit for the Aces, who opened the tournament by beating Rain or Shine and Meralco. They hope to book their third straight win against the Energy Cola in their 4:15 p.m. match-up.
But Luigi Trillo said that’s easier said than done considering Barako Bull is likewise off to a great start following back-to-back victories against defending champion San Mig Coffee (79-75) and Globalport (98-88 in overtime).
Barako Bull import Evan Brock, who averages 21 points, 15 rebounds, and two assists in 44 minutes, has been instrumental in the team’s first two games.
While Brock is not really a spectacular scorer, Barako Bull team consultant Rajko Toroman said the import does a lot of things for them which do not reflect on the stats sheet.
On the other hand, the 6-foot-9 Dozier was had a more active game against the Bolts, pouring in 27 points, 14 rebounds, and six block shots to earn Best Player of the Game honors in their 85-81 win.
“Dozier is a very versatile player who works hard. I like his demeanor and he really does a better job composing himself. Di siya napipikon,” said Trillo of the former Memphis Tiger forward.
So far, Barako Bull’s depth is showing, thanks to its pre-conference roster build up that saw Jonas Villanueva add veteran leadership in the backcourt to complement starting point guard Josh Urbiztondo.
Toroman said he also expects high-flying swingman JC Intal to provide additional offense as the former Ateneo forward is set to play his first game this conference.
The 6-foot-2 Intal has seen limited action during the Philippine Cup while still with San Mig Coffee due to a meniscus injury. He was later traded to Barako Bull along with Villanueva.
“We showed character in these two games. But I’m happy that JC will be playing for us against Alaska,” said Toroman, who turned 58 last weekend.
Toroman isn’t promising anything, but he believes that with the addition of Villanueva, Intal, and even former Ginebra high-flyer Allein Maliksi, they have enough young legs to keep up with the Aces.