PETRON Blaze is finally showing the fiery form expected of it while Powerade suddenly struggled following a fine start.
That is why aside from the standings there is an aditional subplot attached to the game between the Boosters and Tigers Saturday in a PBA on the Road match at the Ibalong Centrum in Legaspi City.
For Petron, it is its bid not only to hold on to at least a share of second-running spot but to stretch its winning streak to three.
The Boosters could even take top spot or solo second, depending on the matches between leader Talk 'N Text versus Barako Bull and fellow second placed Alaska and Air21 Friday at the Cuneta Astrodome.
Powerade simply wants to pull its act together following two straight losses, a far cry from the same team that won its first two matches.
"Simply put, it's a character test for us," said Tigers coach Bo Perasol. "We have to prove to ourselves we have what it takes to rebound from those losses."
All that is needed, Perasol maintained, is the proper mind-set.
"In a way, we can't bring ourselves to worry about our opponent more than our team finding a way to get our bearings back," he stated. "We have been in this situation before and I know that we can get past through our struggles."
It could be easier said than done since going to the Phoenix Fuel-sponsored match Petron is as determined to pick up from where it left off.
"Handa ang mga bata and although hindi p'wedeng balewalain ang Powerade, ang feeling ng lahat puro optimistic," said Petron coach Ato Agustin.
The Boosters are also adding on to their already well-stocked arsenal with the return of Chris Lutz from a hamstring injury that sidelined him the last two games.
With the prolific Lutz back, he is sure to further create problems for the opposing side as well as Nick Fazekas, Arwind Santos, Alex Cabagnot and Joseph Yeo, the latter ably stepping up as the starting 2-guard in the absence of their prized rookie.
Scoring champion Gary David is sure to be his usual productive self, but vital factors for Powerade is how his support cast, led by import Dwayne Jones, Marcio Lassiter and Jayvee Casio, can chip in their ample share. (NC)