PETRON Blaze, slowed down by players’ injury faces Globalport Batang Pier while Air 21 Express take on Barako Bull today as the 39th Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) Philippine Cup re¬sumes at the Araneta Coliseum.
The Petron-Globalport game is also the baptism of fire for new head coach Richie Ticzon, who replaced Junel Baculi.
Batang Pier emerged as the squad with the most number of rookies led by University Athletic Association of the Philippines Most Valuable Player Terrence Romeo of the Far Eastern University (FEU) Tamaraws. The others are RR Garcia also of FEU, Nico Salva and Justin Chua of Ateneo, LA Revilla of De La Salle and Jospher Custodio of Manuel Luis Quezon University.
Top guards Alex Cabagnot, Chico Lanete and Ronald Tubid will be missing the action when the Blaze Boosters, the recent Governor’s Cup losing finalist, meet the rejuvenated Batang Pier at 8 p.m. The Express and sister team Energy Boosters face each other at 5:45 p.m.
Tubid, who is nursing a knee injury, will be sidelined for at least six weeks, while Cabagnot and Lanete are still recuperating from injuries they suffered during the Governors’ Cup Finals last month.
“Alex [Cabagnot] is still injured, while Chico Lanete has not yet recovered and worst is Ronald [Tubid], who may take time to recover,” said Petron coach Gee Abanilla.
The injury of his key players left Abanilla with no option but to rely on Chris Ross to back up Paolo Hubalde. Before joining the Blaze Boosters the 6’1 Ross played with the Meralco Bolts before being traded to Globalport.
There is not much changes in the Blaze Boosters line-up and coach Gee Abanilla would again lean on Chris Lutz, Marcio Lassiter, Jason Deutchman, Yousef Taha, Arwind Santos, Dough Kramer, and 6’10 June Mar Fajardo.
Ticzon, a former Ateneo Blue Eagles will likewise rely on veterans Jay Washington, Solomon Mer¬cado, Jondan Salvador, Marvin Hayes, Leo Najorda, Kelly Nabong, Jaypee Belencion and Eric Menk.
5:45 p.m. – Air 21 vs. Barako Bull
8:00 p.m. – Petron vs. Globalport