Michele Gumabao won't return to chase a 4th title for La Salle in UAAP Season 76 but you will still see her.
GlobalPort Batang Pier (1-0) vs Barako Bull Energy Cola (1-0)
When they last met… In the last Philippine Cup, the Barako Bull Energy Cola pulled off a Houdini escape over the GlobalPort Batang Pier, eking out a 95-94 victory behind the heroics of Ronald Tubid.
The 6’1” Tubid (who’s now with Petron) finished with a team-high 19 points on top of five rebounds that overshadowed Mark Yee’s career game of 20 points, seven caroms and a steal.
Why this game is important…
For GlobalPort: The Batang Pier, who underwent a massive rebuilding after acquiring Sol Mercado and Japeth Aguilar, is on a high and the wards of head coach Junel Baculi hopes to ride on the momentum of its shocker of a win against powerhouse Petron on opening day.
For Barako Bull: Just like GlobalPort, Barako Bull tries to follow up its stunning 79-75 upset victory over perennial contender San Mig Coffee and prove that with a retooled line-up, the Energy can not be taken lightly by opponents.
For GlobalPort: Japeth Aguilar. Make no mistake about it, but Aguilar, if his first game in a GlobalPort uniform would be the gauge, is coming into his own and justifying the playing time he wants and his failed attempt to make it to the NBA might be a blessing in disguise, after all.
The athletic Aguilar came away with 16 points, nine boards and four blocks. His contribution is what the Batang Pier needs as the team is loaded with gunners.
For Barako Bull: Jonas Villanueva. The former San Mig Coffee playmaker might be just what the doctor ordered for Barako Bull. If the former FEU stalwart jells well with the team and provides additional scoring on Sunday, the Energy might be on their way to an early 2-0 record.
And the winner is… In a battle of opening day stunners, GlobalPort’s deeper line-up will the key to winning. You put scoring machine Gary David, spitfire Sol Mercado, former two-time MVP Willie Miller and the promising Japeth Aguilar on one team is just too much. Justin Williams, Batang Pier’s import is also impressive in his PBA debut although he got ejected in their opener. GlobalPort
Barangay Ginebra San Miguel Kings (0-0) vs Air21 Express (0-0)
When they last met… Barangay Ginebra San Miguel demolished the Air21 Express in their Philippine Cup showdown last year, 99-76 as rookie Chris Ellis tallied 18 points and four rebounds punctuated by a highlight-reel dunk and court “gin-eral” LA Tenorio who added 15 markers.
Right from the get-go, Barangay Ginebra, now under head coach Alfrancis Chua, took control of the ballgame and never relinquished the lead.
Why this game is important…
For Barangay Ginebra San Miguel: The Kings, after another uneventful Philippine Cup campaign bolstered its wing artillery by acquiring sweet-shooting forward Mac Baracael and looks to begin the conference with a bang as it also starts a new chapter with former Tanduay and Sta. Lucia mentor Alfrancis Chua.
For Air21: The Express hopes to start their Commissioner’s Cup campaign with a win right away. Now that coach Franz Pumaren has KG Canaleta, Mike Cortez, Noy Baclao and Bon-bon Custodio in the fold, it’s up to him and to his coaching staff to transform the Bert Lina franchise from minnows to a winning team.
For Barangay Ginebra San Miguel. Chris Ellis. It’s no secret that BGSM is Mark Caguioa’s team while LA Tenorio is waiting for that one day that he’ll take over as the face of the franchise but the high-flying Ellis, selected 6th overall in last year’s draft can spell the difference for the Gin Kings as he can give scoring, defense and intensity on both ends of the floor.
For Air21: John Wilson. The former high-scoring two-guard from JRU can provide additional scoring aside from Canaleta, Cortez and Custodio. It must be a total team effort especially against a high-powered BGSM engine being run by one of PBA’s top point guard today--- LA Tenorio.
And the winner is… With a new coach and a new outlook, Barangay Ginebra’s awesome firepower built around its explosive duo of Caguioa and Tenorio is a headache not just for the Express but for all the teams in the league as well that will make life a living hell for coach Pumaren and his boys. Barangay Ginebra San Miguel.