Preview: Powerhouse Petron takes on Air21

Enzo Flojo
Powerhouse Petron takes on underdog Air21 in the 2013 PBA Governor's Cup.

NO ROOM FOR ERROR. Canaleta and the Express can't lose another game. Photo by PBA Images/Nuki Sabio. 

Air21 Express (1-2) vs Petron Blaze Boosters (2-1)

Why Air21 will win: Air21 actually outscored Barako Bull 47-38 in the second half of their game this past weekend. The biggest reason the Express still ended up with a loss was they fell behind by 18 at the half. Air21 should be able to carry the momentum from that second half into this game against the Boosters. Look for Zach Graham to continue stuffing the stat-sheet, while KG Canaleta and Mike Cortez will provide the sniping.

Why Petron Blaze will win: The Boosters were positively dominant in the way they blasted the Painters last Friday. Petron led from start to finish and didn’t really let up any pressure. Methinks they will do much of the same here, with Elijah Millsap continuing to be a double-double beast even as Arwind Santos and June Mar Fajardo are expected to provide the necessary toughness against the Express’s smaller frontline. Also, I am expecting Alex Cabagnot to produce another great game, playmaking-wise.

Key Match-ups:

KG Canaleta (14.3ppg, 6.3rpg, 2.0apg, 45.7 FG%) vs Arwind Santos (13.7ppg, 7.3rpg, 51.3 FG%)

Man, I would’ve picked either (or both!) to be in Gilas Pilipinas for FIBA Asia 2013. Both guys are long, both can shoot from deep, and both are supremely athletic. Canaleta has a broader offensive skill-set, but Santos is such a defensive dynamo. This promises to be a supremely massive match-up. I am picking KG to hit at least 2 treys in this one, while Arwind should get more put-backs and rebounds.

X-Factor:

Marcio Lassiter

Lassiter had a good start to the conference, but he scored just 4 points on 2/9 FG shooting against the Painters. He’s due for a nice bounce-back performance against Air21 here, and with only Ogie Menor and BonBon Custodio guarding him, the former Gilas standout SHOULD bring the heat.

What this game means:     

The Express’ loss to Barako Bull was key simply because there is no other team they have a high chance of beating. They will probably lose this one to a streaking Petron side, and should they indeed drop this, a 1-3 hole will be too deep already.

On the other hand, Petron shouldn’t let this golden opportunity to go 3-1 slide. After this game, their next assignment is San Mig Coffee, and the Boosters need all the momentum they can get we they square off against the Mixers. – Rappler.com

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