NEWLY retooled Globalport will face two tough tests right on the first weekend of the Commissioner’s Cup and coach Junel Baculi’s goal is to at least split the two matches.
The squad went 1-13 in the Philippine Cup but Baculi, who took over as head coach after that disappointing league debut by the Batang Pier, said the recent acquisitions boosted their once shallow line-up and give them a fighting chance against the talented teams.
Veteran playmaker Solomon Mercado, 6’9” Japeth Aguilar and 6’4” rookie Kelly Nabong were signed recently and the new-look Batang Pier will be tested first by the Renaldo Balkman-reinforced Petron Blaze at 5:15 p.m. on Friday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Globalport then takes on Baculi’s former team Barako Bull on Sunday.
“That’s (winning two games over the weekend) a bonus for us. But modesty aside, I think 1-1 will be good already,” Baculi said.
“The nine teams are tough because even if we got stronger, other teams also got stronger. So in the PBA, di talaga madali mag-coach,” Baculi said, whose import Justin Williams is expected to figure prominently on the defensive end against Balkman.
Baculi said chemistry remains an issue for his team, which didn’t have the luxury of time to jell since Mercado only started to practice with them on February 1, while Aguilar just joined the team on Tuesday morning.
Globalport will be up against a Petron squad that is fresh from a Sinulog Cup championship in Cebu City last weekend.
With Balkman fitting well into Petron’s system, the Boosters are eager to put behind their dismal performance in the recent Philippine Cup.
“Kailangan lang muna makapasok sa semifinals. Iyan na ang pinaghahandaan namin,” said Petron’s star forward Arwind Santos, who led the league with 12 double-doubles in the Philippine Cup.