by Tito S. Talao
Games Today (Cuneta Astrodome)
5:45 p.m. – Rain or Shine vs Meralco
8 p.m. – San Mig Coffee vs Alaska
The X-Men of Rain or Shine could be in full force tonight against Meralco.
Featuring three Xavier School alumni, including second round pick Jeric Teng, the Elasto Painters gun for solo leadership in the PLDT myDSL-PBA Philippine Cup when they face the Bolts at the Cuneta Astrodome.
Gametime is at 5:45 p.m., with Rain or Shine looking to follow up on its 87-74 opening day victory over Alaska Milk at the University of Southeastern Philippines gym in Davao City, and Meralco seeking to put behind an 89-80 loss to defending champion Talk ‘N Text at the New Cebu Coliseum.
At 8 p.m., San Mig Coffee and Alaska clash in search of their first win after absorbing lopsided losses in the inaugural, with the Mixers flattened by the towering Barangay Ginebra Kings, 86-69, at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Chris Tiu, a member of the 2013 PBA All-Rookie team, and TY Tang sat out the game against the Aces and played mentor to Teng, who debuted with 5 points, 1 rebound and 1 assist in 12 minutes. The son of former San Miguel power forward Alvin Teng missed 3 of 4 three-pointers but was 2 for 2 from the line as he shared minutes with fellow rookie Alex Nuyles (9th overall).
The Bolts, who trailed by as many as 26 points despite TNT forward Ranidel de Ocampo sitting on the bench with a right calf muscle strain, are going to be confronted with a bigger problem in Rain or Shine, and would need drastic improvement from their 37 percent field goal shooting and 21 missed triples that evening.
Rain or Shine, in contrast, simply sparkled against the Aces.
Jeff Chan unloaded 17 points with 4 three-pointers and Jervy Cruz, named Mr. Quality Minutes (Sixth Man Award) by the PBA Press Corps, added 12 with 12 rebounds as the Elasto Painters, who led, 49-34, at the half, gave future opponents a taste of what awaits them.
The bitter aftereffect probably hasn’t washed away yet for the Aces, although a win over San Mig Coffee and Tim Cone should be a spoonful of sugar.
This marks the first meeting between the two teams since San Mig’s quarterfinal playoff victory over the Aces in last season’s Governors’ Cup.
The Mixers went on to beat Meralco in the semifinals and Petron in the championship series for their second title in three conference finals these last two seasons.
They would want nothing than to retrace those steps.
After getting smothered by 6-foot-11 top rookie pick Greg Slaughter and 6-foot-10 Japeth Aguilar, and then shot down by returning third year veteran Dylan Ababou, who came back from an ACL surgery to fire 17 points in the second half coming off the bench against San Mig, the Mixers are out to redeem themselves.
But the Aces and Luigi Trillo, who replaced Cone as head coach of Alaska following Cone’s departure,
stand in the way and so the stage is set for another memorable showdown between mentor and student.
Late in the evening last Wednesday, Petron Blaze taught rookie-laden Globalport a lesson in organization in a 97-87 victory that spoiled the coaching debut of ex-pro Ritchie Ticson for the Batang Pier.
PETRON 97 – Lassiter 18, Lutz 18, Santos 16, Fajardo 15, Kramer 11, Hubalde 7, Taha 6, Ross 3, Duncil 2, Deutchman 1.
GLOBALPORT 87 – Mercado 20, Washington 15, Romeo 13, Najorda 10, Menk 6, Hayes 6, Belencion 4, Salvador 4,
Garcia 4, Salva 3, Ponferada 2, Lingganay 0, Nabong 0.
Quarters: 28-18; 56-44; 75-63; 97-87