COACH Tim Cone admitted Purefoods' 'drive for five' faces a tricky test in the PBA Philippine Cup playoffs, but is happy to have a new man in his frontline in veteran Mick Pennisi.
Pennisi, 39, came in via trade with Barako Bull in exchange for Isaac Holstein and Ronnie Matias, giving Purefoods a boost in the frontline following the departure of Yancy De Ocampo and the injury to Ian Sangalang.
But more than just an additional warm body, Pennisi gives a new dimension to the Purefoods offense with an ability to hit the three-pointer that is rare for a big man, Cone said.
“He’ll (Pennisi) certainly give us a different look to our offense with his ability to spread the floor. Plus he gives us a physical presence at the post defensively,” said Cone, who is celebrating his 57th birthday this Sunday.
"I really like his makeup and veteran presence as well."
The journeyman gets a chance to get his feet wet with Purefoods in Tuesday's match against Barako Bull, the Hotshots' last before the knockout-style playoffs.
Purefoods (5-5) is already out of contention for the Top 6, their shot at a twice-to-beat advantage in the first round of the playoffs dashed by back-to-back losses to Rain or Shine and Talk 'N Text.
It didn’t help that Barangay Ginebra, its sister team under the San Miguel Corp. group, fell to Rain or Shine, 100-90 on Sunday, rendering Purefoods Star’s match against Barako Bull a no-bearing match.
“Our road through the playoffs is a lot tougher than we hoped. But we have nothing to do but to take the challenge head on. As they say, we made our own bed, now we have to lay on it,” said Cone on the eve of the 2 p.m. match.
The Energy, meantime, could enter the playoffs at the No. 7, 8 or ninth seed with a win, although their final playoff position will depend on the outcome of the GlobalPort-Meralco match on the same day.
Barako Bull has won four of its last five games after opening the season under new coach Koy Banal will five straight losses.