B-Meg had easily the saddest story in the season-opening all-Filipino tourney, topping the
elimination round only to be upset right in the first stage of the playoffs.
There’s no bigger reason than that why the Llamados are eager to plunge back into action.
With a highly touted import in tow, the Llamados open their campaign in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup versus the Meralco Bolts in the 7:30 p.m. mainer Friday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Mark Cardona and company provide the initial test as the Llamados start life with their team now
built around wingmen James Yap, PJ Simon and JC Intal.
Joe Devance, Marc Pingris and Rafi Reavis are likely to play bigger roles with Kerby Raymundo and Rico Maierhofer gone.
Then there’s Denzel Bowles, this early considered among the fearsome imports in the tourney.
Coach Tim Cone himself is itching to get back to work, hoping they redeem themselves from their
quarterfinals meltdown in the Philippine Cup.
These are all legitimate concerns for coach Ryan Gregorio and his team.
“We’re up against one of the stronger teams in the league,” admitted Gregorio, but not
“We will do our best to compete, stay close and find ways to win,” Gregorio said. “The format
does not allow teams to relax. With only nine games, the mindset is already playoff basketball.”
The Bolts had their own little facelift during the break, and Gregorio is excited to see Paul Artadi and Chris Ross play their backcourt.
“We’re definitely quicker with them,” said Gregorio.
Another source of inspiration for the Bolts is the consistent game being played by main man Macmac Cardona.
“He played good in our pre-season game and hopefully he’s able to sustain that in the tournament
proper,” said Gregorio.
The Bolts are also hoping 6-foot-11 import Jarrid Famous turns out to be good and fit for the team.
Famous, a Bronx, New York native who made waves with the Iowa Energy meriting him an invite to the Indiana Paces training camp last year, arrived only Tuesday night to replace the injury-hit Jelani McCoy.
“Hopefully, he adjusts quickly on how we run things,” said Gregorio. (SB)