Games Today (Smart Araneta)
3 p.m. – Barako Bull vs Globalport
5:15 p.m. – San Miguel vs Purefoods Star
Reigning MVP June Mar Fajardo, who starred in San Miguel Beer’s 87-79 victory over Rain or Shine the last time, will lead the Beermen in a bid to nail their second win against Grand Slam champion Purefoods Star today in the PBA Philippine Cup at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
The 6-10 Fajardo wreaked havoc against the Elasto Painters, scoring ten of his 16 points in the fourth quarter while adding 10 rebounds and the third-year pro will certainly be a marked man.
Although San Miguel will face a team that is coming off a 93-73 loss to Alaska, the Beermen can’t afford to take the Hotshots lightly as head coach Tim Cone won’t be happy seeing his team get waylaid for the second straight time.
“It was certainly an inauspicious debut for us,” said Cone, who led Purefoods – then known as San Mig Super Coffee – to four straight titles and a Grand Slam last season.
“Alaska sent us a very strong and clear message that last season is definitely over. Still, it was just the first game and there is no reason to panic at this point,” added Cone.
Purefoods, however, will miss the vastly-improved big man Ian Sangalang, down with a knee injury, and the continued absence of Marc Pingris and Cone will have to make do with the trio of Rafi Reavis, Isaac Holstein and Yousef Taha.
In the curtain-raiser, Barako Bull and Globalport try to barge into the win column after dropping their opening games despite holding double-digit leads.
Barako Bull absorbed a 112-108 double OT loss to Meralco last Wednesday, while Globalport sank against newcomer NLEX, 101-96, the day before.
The setback suffered by Globalport put to waste the 33-point effort of sophomore guard Terrence Romeo, as well as the 23-point production of veteran guard Alex Compton.
More so, the loss spoiled the PBA debut of top rookie pick Stanley Pringle, who finished with 14 points but was scoreless in the final frame.
“Adjustments are made, offensively and defensively,” said Globalport’s second-year Coach Pido Jarencio. “Also important is the rotation of players’ and we have to finish strong in the game.”
Globalport will be joined by rookies Anthony Semerad and John Pinto as they are now available to play in the PBA after their respective teams clashed in the NCAA, with Semerad’s Red Lions sweeping Pinto’s Chiefs in the three-game series.