Missing the Philippine Cup finals by a heartbeat, the Petron Blaze Boosters are aching to plunge
back into action and hopeful a lift from their import can carry them to a better finish in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup.
The Boosters, reinforced by 6-foot-11 reinforcement Nick Fazekas, open their campaign in the
mid-season tourney versus the Barangay Ginebra Kings at 6:30 p.m. Sunday at the Smart Araneta
It’s an exciting match also featuring the return of one-time PBA Best Import awardee Chris
Alexander and the debut of Kerby Raymundo and Dylan Ababou as Ginebra players.
Ginebra effected some changes in their lineup after failing to make it past the quarterfinal round in the season-opening all-Filipino tourney.
Raymundo and Ababou came in place of JC Intal, Ronald Tubid and Reil Cervantes.
Petron is also looking to improve its lineup. It entered into a trade agreement with Powerade
involving Marcio Lassiter, Noy Baclao and Rey Guevarra, but PBA commissioner Chito Salud put it hold pending official words from Coca-Cola Bottlers on the supposed sale of its franchise to San Miguel Corp.
Meantime, the Boosters try to make do with their old lineup plus their highly touted import.
Fazekas possesses impressive credentials including the distinction of being one of only six players in US NCAA history to score 2,000 points, grab 1,000 rebounds, shoot 50 percent from the field and 80 percent from the line. The others were Rick Barry, Larry Bird, Christian Laettner and Keith Van Horn.
The former University of Nevada-Reno stalwart was drafted 34th overall by the Dallas Mavericks in the 2007 NBA draft. He also played for the LA Clippers later.
Coach Ato Agustin is optimistic Fazekas can make the difference, allowing the team to improve on
their third-place finish behind Talk n Text and Powerade in the first conference.
The Boosters squandered a 3-1 lead and eventually bowed to the Texters in a sudden death in their best-of-seven semis duel. The Texters went on to beat the Tigers in five games for the all-Filipino crown.
Fazekas, however, could well be up for a tough test against Alexander.
Going with Alexander is his familiarity with his teammates.
Alexander, 31, gave Ginebra its last championship during the 2007-08 season, averaging 20 points, 20 rebounds per game. (SB)