ON a three-game roll, Barako Bull is about to face its biggest test yet in the PBA Governors Cup.
The Energy Cola tangle with streaking Petron Blaze Boosters in a battle of league leaders on a rare Tuesday playdate at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.
Barako (3-1) is currently on a three-game winning streak after beating Meralco (90-89), Air21 (103-94), and Barangay Ginebra (104-91) one after the other.
But the streak will be seriously challenged when the Energy Cola go up against the Boosters (4-1) in their keenly awaited match set at 5:15 p.m.
“Petron is probably the strongest team in the league because of their chemistry, their very strong import, and they have won four games in a row,” said Rajko Toroman, who is in his second conference as Barako Bull’s active consultant.
Since losing their opening game against Meralco, Petron has put together four straight wins at the expense of the Kings, Rain or Shine E-Painters, Express, and the San Mig Coffee Mixers.
“Right now, our objective is to improve every game and just peak at the right moment. Peaking at the latter part of the conference matters most to us,” said Petron rookie coach Gee Abanilla.
Barako Bull’s resurgence early in the season-ending conference is partly credited to the stellar plays of pint-sized rookie guard Eman Monfort.
The 5-foot-7 Monfort has managed to stand tall among the land of giants. In the absence of veteran playmaker Jonas Villanueva, Monfort is actively holding the fort by averaging 19.6 points, 3.6 rebounds, and 3.3 assists in Barako Bull’s last three wins.
“Eman is still a rookie, but he’s been a big part of what the team is doing. He showed character and hard work even though he’s small,” said Toroman of his freshman point guard, who scored a career-best 25 points against the Kings last week.
The Barako-Petron game also features an interesting match-up between two athletic imports in Mike Singletary and Elijah Millsap.
Singletary currently ranks second in scoring among imports with a 37 points per game average, along with 16 boards, 3.0 assists, and 2.5 steals through the team’s first four matches.
On the other hand, Millsap, the younger brother of Utah Jazz power forward Paul Millsap, is submitting averages of 27.8 points, 12.4 rebounds, 3.8 assists, and 2.4 steals.