Games Today (Cuneta Astrodome)
3 p.m. – NLEX vs Globalport
5:15 p.m. – Ginebra vs Rain or Shine
Red-hot NLEX hopes to stretch its winning streak to four even as Barangay Ginebra San Miguel and Rain or Shine seek to rebound from recent losses today when the PBA Commissioner’s Cup take its act to the Cuneta Astrodome in Pasay City.
The Road Warriors, on a three-way tie at fifth place with a 4-4 card, take on the Globalport Batang Pier (4-4) at 3 p.m., while the Kings (4-4) and the Elasto Painters (5-3) clash in the featured game at 5:15 p.m.
NLEX is coming off an exhilarating 96-90 comeback thriller against Ginebra last Wednesday, while Globalport had absorbed a 96-88 defeat to Talk ‘N Text on March 1.
The Petron Blaze Saturday Special between defending champion Purefoods Star and Talk ‘N Text, meantime, was ongoing at presstime at the University of Southern Philippines gym in Davao City, with the Tropang Texters looking to regain solo leadership and the third-running Hotshots eyeing a share of second spot.
Meanwhile, late Friday night, embattled Philippine Cup champion San Miguel Beer took a big step on the road back to contention by turning back Rain or Shine, 129-114, as Arizona Reid, who had an exchange of words with his former ROS coach Yeng Guiao, unloaded 41 points and Junmar Fajardo dropped import-like numbers of 30 points and 19 rebounds.
Arwind Santos added 18 points on 4 of 5 3-point shooting and Alex Cabagnot 14 on 3 of 6 from beyond the arc as the Beermen weathered the 50-point explosion of ROS’ Wayne Chism in posting just their third win in 9 games to stay at 11th spot.
Chism’s output tied NLEX’s Al Thornton’s season-high mark.
The Elasto Painters, who were looking to tie Talk ‘N Text and Meralco at the top, fell to a share of third place with defending champion Purefoods on 5-3 slates, their tumble the consequence of SMB’s 16 three-pointers, overwhelming advantage inside (30 points to 32) and ROS’ 22 turnovers.
Guiao was ejected with 2:14 remaining after being assessed a second technical for giving his ex-import a nudge during an inbound play in front of the ROS bench. Both Guiao and Reid, a two-time Best Import winner who suited up for three conferences with the E-Painters before getting released in the Commissioner’s Cup, were earlier given technicals following a profanity-laced verbal exchange a few seconds before.
Guiao told a sports website that Reid had been disrespectful by “adding injury to a lost cause” by uttering foul language as he passed the ROS bench after every basket.
Reid denied Guiao’s claim though.
“Basketball is never personal to me,” said Reid afterward. “I know he liked to talk. I should have been more respectful, but on court I’m trying to win. Of course if it wasn’t for Coach Yeng I won’t be here at SMB.
SAN MIGUEL BEER 129 – Reid 41, Fajardo 30, Santos 18, Cabagnot 14, Ross 9, Lassiter 8, Kramer 4, Lutz 3, Reyes 2, Maierhofer 0, Omolon 0, Pascual 0, Semerad 0, Fortuna 0, Tubid 0.
RAIN OR SHINE 114 – Chism 50, Lee 14, Almazan 10, Ibanes 8, Chan 8, Norwood 7, Cruz 4, Belga 4, Quinahan 4, Tiu 3, Arana 2, Uyloan 0.
Quarters: 32-29, 61-52, 93-79, 129-114