The Star parades a new import in Malcolm Hill as it seeks its second straight win against the struggling Alaska in the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) Season 42 Governors Cup today at the Ynares Center in Antipolo.
The Hotshots battle the Aces in the second game at 7 p.m. while TNT KaTropa squares off with Kia in the first game at 4:15 p.m.
The Star easily demolished Blackwater in its opening assignment, 103-86, and will be eyeing a share of the second spot with Meralco at 2-0 behind the surprising leader Northern Luzon Expressway at 3-0.
Cinmeon Bowers finished with 15 points, eight rebounds and five assists for the Hotshots against the Elite but it was not enough to convince the team to keep his services.
Team governors Rene Pardo said the 21-year old Hill, a product of Illinois, would take his spot.
“The coaching staff felt Bowers was below their expectations and they wanted somebody who is more offensive-minded and aggressive,” said Pardo in a text message.
Veteran Peter June Simon, who is coming from a 20-point output game against Blackwater, is expected to lead also the Hotshots anew along with Allein Maliksi, Ian Sangalang and Paul Lee.
Alaska dropped its first two assignments in the tournament, bowing to Phoenix (93-95) and the Road Warriors (104-112). The Aces have lost their last 10 games dating back the Commissioner’s Cup.
And head coach Alex Compton knows it’s high time to stop the bleeding.
“We need to start winning basketball games now,” said Compton, who will bank on import LaDontae Henton.
Henton is averaging 28.5 points in the first two games and Compton hopes the locals will give their share to end the drought.
KaTropa, meanwhile, begin their campaign against the winless Picanto in the opener.
TNT is bringing in Michael Craig to boost their campaign in the season-ending conference
TNT coach Nash Racela is wary of Kia as the squad of deputy coach Chris Gavina remains a dangerous team despite sitting at the cellar.
“We cannot treat it as an exhibition game. I’m sure they also wanted to get a first win that’s why we’re to do our best offensively and defensively,” said Racela. “About Craig, we haven’t seen him play in an actual game. We only see him in practice.”
The Picanto are coming from two straight losses against Phoenix (105-118) and NLEX (93-100) and Gavina braces for a tough grind against the disciplined KaTropa.
“The name of the game against TNT is being able to stop their transition game, contain their dribble penetration and controlling the boards,” said Gavina. “If we are able to focus and execute our defensive schemes against them, I feel we will be able to get our first win.”