Games Today (Mall of Asia Arena)
4:15 p.m. – Purefoods vs Globalport
7 p.m. – Rain or Shine vs San Miguel Beer
With a healthy rookie guard in Stanley Pringle and new import in Steve Thomas, Globalport shoots for its third straight win against defending champion Purefoods Star today in the PBA Governors’ Cup at the Mall of Asia (MOA) Arena in Pasay City.
Globalport takes on Purefoods at 4:15 p.m., while Rain or Shine battles winless San Miguel Beer at 7 p.m.
Globalport shipped home seven-foot center Patrick O’Bryant who averaged 13 points in two games.
Replacing him is Thomas, a 6-foot-9 center/forward who helped the now-defunct Air21 Express advance to the championship stage of the 2008 Fiesta Cup, where they eventually lost to Barangay Ginebra in a do-or-die Game 7.
During his stint with the Express, Thomas averaged 20.50 points, 16.47 rebounds, 3.50 assists and 1.57 shot blocks.
Now 35, Thomas recently played for the Hi-Tech Bangkok City, a team he powered to the ASEAN Basketball League (ABL) title under Filipino coach Jing Ruiz late last year where he averaged 13.33 points and 13.83 rebounds.
Globalport team manager Bonnie Tan said Thomas, who arrived yesterday, will serve as interim import as they wait for the availability of first option Jarrid Famous – a former Meralco import back in 2010.
The 6-foot-11 Famous last played for the Texas Legends in the NBA D-League.
Globalport has also reactivated the 6-foot-1 Pringle, the top pick in last year’s PBA Rookie Draft who collected 18 points, three rebounds, four assists and two steals in almost 15 minutes of action in the team’s 100-76 victory over Blackwater last Friday.
Batang Pier’s first win this conference was against the Bolts (92-73). At 2-0, Globalport is tied with Alaska and Barako Bull atop the standings.
Globalport Coach Pido Jarencio, however, understands that it’s an acid test for them playing the Star Hotshots.
“We have to get our A game because we’re up against the defending champion. At both ends, defensively and offensively, we have to be cohesive,” said Jarencio, who will also rely on his other mainstays like Asian import Omar Krayem, Terrence Romeo, Ronjay Buenafe, Anthony Semerad and Mark Isip.
Purefoods opened its title-retention campaign with an 89-85 triumph versus NLEX last Saturday as former Best Import Marqus Blakely fired 29 points and grabbed 18 rebounds, while Alex Mallari had 15 points off the bench.
Equally exciting is the matchup between SMB and Rain or Shine, which came close to winning the Commissioner’s Cup title but suffered a 121-119 double-overtime defeat in Game 7 to Talk ’N Text last April 29.
The Yeng Guiao-mentored Elasto Painters will parade Wendell McKines as import – the onetime reinforcement of Alaska two years ago.
The team’s core of Paul Lee, Jeff Chan, Gabe Norwood, Beau Belga, Jericho Cruz, Jireh Ibanes, Ryan Arana, Chris Tiu and Raymon Almazan are also returning in hopes to make another run for the title.
ROS, however, will face a SMB side that has yet to win this conference, leading to speculations that coach Leo Austria might be replaced or import AZ Reid may be sent home after underperforming in the first two games last week, as the Philippine Cup champion lost to expansion team Kia (83-78) and Meralco (106-95).
Interestingly, the last time the two teams clashed in the preliminary round of the Commissioner’s Cup, Reid torched his former team ROS with 41 points in a 129-114 win marred by a verbal altercation with Guiao, who was ejected from the game for elbowing the import while inbounding the ball in front of the Rain or Shine bench late in the fourth.