The Petron Blaze Boosters should be aching to get back to the playing court after narrowly missing the finals the last conference then coming out short in their bid in their first game in the current tourney versus the Barangay Ginebra Kings Sunday.
The Meralco Bolts anticipate this, thus, hoping to dish out their best as they clash in Day Three of the PBA Commissioner’s Cup at the Cuneta Astrodome Wednesday night.
Both are out to bounce back from a losing debut in the mid-season tourney.
The Boosters bowed to the Ginebra Kings, 82-84, Sunday on Jayjay Helterbrand’s game-winning shot
at the buzzer while the Bolts yielded to the B-Meg Llamados, 93-96, as they were unable to sustain the momentum they enjoyed in building 11-point leads in the third period.
Though still waiting for commissioner Chito Salud’s decision on their proposed trade with the
Powerade Tigers, the Boosters look to well having the more talented cast versus the Bolts.
Up in the air is the Marcio Lassiter swap for Noy Baclao and Rey Guevarra.
Petron import Nick Fazekas appeared far better than Meralco’s Jarrid Famous at least in their
respective PBA debuts.
“Petron is always a tough match-up because of their bench depth. The addition of Fazekas made them all the more dangerous,” said Meralco coach Ryan Gregorio, himself impressed of Fazekas’ debut.
Fazekas, a 6-foot-10 former Dallas Maverick and LA Clipper, produced 37 points and 18 rebounds as against Chris Alexander’s 21 markers and 24 boards in their fierce showdown Sunday.
The Petron reinforcement showed great touch even from beyond the arc, converting two of two
three-point tries, the last forcing an 82-all tie with 3.6 seconds left to play.
Jayjay Helterbrand, however, answered with his own incredible shot at the buzzer as the Kings
escaped with the thriller of a win.
Famous, on the other hand, had a struggling debut with the Bolts.
“As an import, the challenge is for him to play at an optimum level the whole game. Famous played
decent only after a woeful first half,” said Gregorio on Famous’ performance against B-Meg.
The Bolts struggled with their import, going on a rollercoaster ride before eventually losing the game.
“Hopefully, our second game will give us a chance to stabilize. I thought we played hard against
B-Meg. But when you play elite teams, you need to combine hard work with basketball intelligence,” said Gregorio.
The eloquent coach said they would need that against Petron. (SB)