Games Today (Mall of Asia Arena)
5:45 p.m. – Talk ’N Text vs Globalport
8 p.m. – Meralco vs Ginebra
Before the night is over, JayR Reyes will get to shake hands with his former coach and bang bodies with his ex-teammates.
The 6-foot-7 Reyes will be coming off the bench – although one can’t be sure – when Barangay Ginebra San Miguel guns for solo leadership in the PLDT myDSL PBA Philippine Cup tonight against the Meralco Bolts at the Mall of Asia Arena.
He could even start, if only for the drama that would bring into the game early.
Ginebra and Petron Blaze are tied with 3-0 slates, while Meralco is coming off a refreshing 112-79 rout of Air21 which snapped a two-game slide for the Bolts.
Gametime is 8 p.m. following the 5:45 p.m. kick-off game between defending champion Talk ‘N Text and Globalport.
Meralco traded Reyes during the off-season to Ginebra for veteran Kerby Raymundo, who played for Bolts coach Ryan Gregorio when both were still with Purefoods.
But while Reyes’ stalled career appears to have been revived with the run-and-gun Kings – this despite the presence of Twin Towers Greg Slaughter and Japeth Aguilar – Raymundo, a vital cog when Ginebra reached the finals of the Commissioner’s Cup last season, has yet to debut for Meralco.
The Bolts are a dangerous 3-point shooting team (13 triples against Air21) and will need their pinpoint accuracy to negate the Kings’ overpowering strength inside.
Meralco’s success in slowing down the Kings from the opening jump ball will be most crucial to them because Ginebra wants to bury opponents under tons of offense right from the onset before settling down to a more deliberate halfcourt set.
Rabeh Al-Hussaini, Reynel Hugnatan and Don Allado will have their hands full containing Slaughter and Aguilar, who should have a field day in the paint once the Kings’ outside shooters, Mark Caguioa, LA Tenorio, even JJ Helterbrand and Eman Monfort, start connecting.
Caguioa had to bail out the Kings against the Globalport Batang Pier, 109-104, a few days ago and Ginebra has learned its lesson that no early advantage is ever safe.
That will be in their minds when they take on a team with the potential to send them crashing back to earth.
Caguioa answered the challenge of Globalport young guns Terrance Romeo and RR Garcia that evening, hitting 14 of his 29 points in a thrilling shoot-out in the last three minutes, and now Talk ‘N Text’s Jimmy Alapag and Jayson Castro come face-to-face with the league’s hottest backcourt tandem.
Danny Seigle, meanwhile, is all set to make his debut with the Tropang Texters, a development expected to create a major ripple considering Seigle’s role in corporate rival San Miguel’s huge success in the past. (Tito S. Talao)