Preview: Bowles returns for winless SMC
PBA Commissioner's Cup
Barako Bull Energy (2-1) vs Air21 Express (1-1)
When they last met… In Mike Cortez’ first game with Air21 in the Philippine Cup, the Express eked out a close decision over gritty Barako Bull, 86-85. The fomer La Salle star point guard scored 24 points, while getting ample help from James Sena and Mark Isip who added 12 markers apiece. Ronald Tubid led the Energy Cola with his 24 points.
Why this game is important…
For Air21: The Express tries to bounce back after suffering its first loss of the conference at the hands of Talk ‘N Text while trying to rediscover its winning ways.
For Barako Bull: After starting the import-spiced conference with two straight wins, the Energy Cola were bludgeoned by the still unbeaten, league-leading Alaska Aces last Sunday. With a Euro-brand of basketball being ran by Serbian active coaching consultant Rajko Toroman, Barako Bull goes for its third win.
For Air21: Mark Isip. The former FEU stalwart is a vital cog in the Express’ frontline and he must contribute, not only in scoring but also in rebounding. Isip scored a measly two points in their last outing where they got pummelled by the powerhouse Talk ‘N Text Tropang Texters.
For Barako Bull: Evan Brock. With the duo of former Mixers’ guards Josh Urbiztondo and Jonas Villanueva thriving in Toroman’s offense, Brock must step up. He could only muster 12 points and 15 rebounds in their loss to Alaska. More is expected from Brock so that the burden of carrying the load will not only be in the hands of Urbiztondo and Villanueva.
And the winner is… Barako Bull is slowly embracing Toroman’s system and with Josh and Jonas proving their worth to the team, the Energy Cola are just a better, contending team right now unlike the past few years where it languished in the cellar. The Express will give a good fight with prolific import Michael Dunigan leading the charge, but its chemistry will be tested. Barako Bull.
Rain or Shine Elasto Painters (1-1) vs San Mig Coffee Mixers (0-2)
When they last met… In the last Philippine Cup’s semifinals that pitted the brewing rivalry of San Mig Coffee and Rain or Shine, it was the Painters who came away with the last laugh. The Elasto Painters held off the Coffee Mixers, 90-83 to barge into the Philippine Cup finals. Lefty gunner Jeff Chan topscored for the Elasto Paintersas he tallied 27 points while Paul Lee and Jervy Cruz chipped in 15 and 14 markers for Rain or Shine. PJ Simon carried the fight for the Coffee Mixers with his game-best 29 points.
Why this game is important…
For Rain or Shine: The Elasto Painters of mentor Yeng Guiao goes for its second straight win as action in the Commissioner's Cup heats up.
For San Mig Coffee: Good news for San Mig Coffee fans. Denzel Bowles, the hulking import who steered the Mixers --- then known as the Derby Ace B-Meg Llamados to the Commissioner’s Cup throne in seven, epic games against Talk ‘N Text as multitiled coach Tim Cone and his wards seek its first win in the mid-season tourney.
For Rain or Shine: Jervy Cruz. The former UAAP MVP out of Santo Tomas had his breakout conference in the last Philippine Cup, and if he continues to play aggressive and contribute in the Painters’ “no all-star,” balanced team, then RoS is in good position to frustrate the Mixers with a third consecutive defeat in as many games.
For San Mig Coffee: Alex Mallari. The team is on a high after getting the lanky Mallari, but in the first two games of the Mixers, Mallari has not lived up to his high billing. Mallari, last year’s 3rd overall draft pick must bring his best game in a Mixer uniform as early as now to prove that he’s worth the gamble.
And the winner is… A 0-3 start will spell doom for the San Mig Coffee Mixers. And knowing coach Tim Cone, he has seen enough. The return of Bowles will be of great help as we expect the Mixers to play with a sense of urgency and nail its first win this conference. San Mig Coffee. - Rappler.com
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