Game Saturday (Binan, Laguna)
5 p.m. – Alaska vs SMBeer
Manila, Philippines – Rain or Shine (RoS) probably made happen what the Meralco Bolts couldn’t bring themselves to do: Send Brian Butch home.
Though nothing yet is definite in the Bolts camp after the Elasto Painters handed them a 96-79 beating last night, the continued tenure of the 6-foot-11 Butch may have finally come to an end in a hail of missed shots in the PLDT Home TVolution PBA Commissioner’s Cup at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Meralco absorbed its third loss in six games even as it kept solo third place while Rain or Shine, behind the 23 points of Alexander Mclean and the 16 third quarter points of Paul Lee, checked a two-game slide in picking up its second win against three losses and moving up to 5th spot from 9th.
Doubled up at the bench most of the time from pain due to a stomach virus from what a suspected case of food poisoning, Butch was mere mortal after his superhuman effort against Air21 last Sunday, scoring just 11 points this time with 13 rebounds in 30 minutes.
He was 4 of 14 from the field and 1 of 4 from the line, weakened by dehydration from throwing up since yesterday morning to go after Rain or Shine’s shooters who used him as perimeter target.
“He has been complaining about it and it attacked him this morning,” said Bolts coach Ryan Gregorio, who apparently had a change of heart after Butch had 40 points and grabbed 31 rebounds in a mighty fightback versus the Express.
“Brian will play tomorrow,” Gregorio said Tuesday. “But we’re not looking beyond the Rain or Shine game.”
Apparently, the Bolts won’t be looking beyond Wednesday midnight.
Team executives, led by Meralco alternate governor Al Panlilio, was set to meet with Bolts coaches to made a final decision on whether to bring in NBA veteran Darnell Jackson, who has been under wraps for the last seven days as Butch continued to stay his departure with his inspired play.
“We have to come to that decision tonight,” said Gregorio. “We have to think what’s good for the team.”
Ironically, the Painters are about to make a crucial choice themselves with McLean.
Replacement import Wayne Chism, Barako Bull’s original preference, reportedly is on his way from the States and is expected to arrive today.
“We will talk about McLean’s status tomorrow,” said RoS coach Yeng Guiao. “We have our options open since our next game won’t be until Monday. We need to decide tomorrow in practice by lunchtime.”
In the main setto, Air21 held on to escape with a 97-95 victory over the Barangay Ginebra Kings.
RAIN OR SHINE 96 – McLean 23, Chan 21, Lee 16, Norwood 13, Belga 7, Cruz 6, Arana 2, Almazan 2, Tiu 2, Ibanes 2, Rodriguez 2, Tang 0, Nuyles 0, Teng 0.
MERALCO 79 – David 20, Dillinger 14, Hodge 12, Butch 11, Hugnatan 7, Artadi 4, Ildefonso 2, Sena 2, Guevarra 2, Wilson 2, Mandani 2, Al-Hussaini 1, Caram 0, Salvacion 0.
Quarters: 23-17, 44-33, 72-60, 96-79
AIR21 97 – Witherspoon 25, Yeo 18, Cardona 15, Borboran 10, Ramos 10, Taulava 9, Villanueva 6, Burtscher 2, Atkins 2, Camson 0.
GINEBRA 95 – Rodgers 18, Aguilar 15, Slaughter 12, Ellis 10, Helterbrand 10, Tenorio 9, Baracael 6, Reyes 6, Mamaril 4, Urbiztondo 3, Caguioa 2.
Quarters: 27-25, 57-48, 80-70, 97-95