• SMB, Ginebra plunge into action to end title drought

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    SISTER teams San Miguel Beer and Ginebra commence their quest to end a long title drought when they face separate foes today in the 39th Philippine Basketball Association Commissioner’s Cup at the Araneta Coliseum.

    With its original name restored in commemoration of a Grandslam 25 years ago, the Beermen with new head coach Biboy Ravanes and new members Solomon Mercado and Rico Maierhofer will face Meralco Bolts at 5:45 p.m. while Ginebra, which signed smallest import Leon Rodgers will meet Barako Bull at 8 p.m.

    Coach Ato Agustin said that the 6’5.5 Rodgers is what they just need to support their two big men Greg Slaughter and Japeth Aguilar. The high-scoring 33-year-old Rodgers was a former Northern Illinois University standout that averaged 21.3 points, 1.2 three-point shots, 8.5 rebounds, 2.2 assists, 0.6 steals and 0.7 blocks. He has extensive experience as a professional, having played in Germany, France, The Netherlands, Puerto Rico and China since 2002.

    “He can play either no. 4 or no. 5. That’s what I like of him,” said Agustin.

    Opposing Rodgers is Barako Bull’s 6’7 forward Joshua Dollard, who replaced Dwayne Chism. The 28-year-old Dollard has played in Finland, Dominican Republic, Colombia, Greece and Turkey after a season with the University of South Carolina Aiken in the US NCAA where he averaged 15.3 points and 7.4 rebounds a game.

    The Beermen, on the other hand, will parade 6’9 Oscar Josha Boone, a former member of the New Jersey Nets. The 29-year-old Boone played for three years with the University of Connecticut Huskies that won the US NCAA championship in 2004. He turned professional in 2006 and was 23rd overall pick by the Nets where he averaged 5.2 points, 4.9 rebounds and 0.7 blocks for four seasons.

    To give the Beermen a tough competition is 6’11 Brian Butch of Meralco. The latter also extended the contract of veteran Danny Ildefonso for the rest of the season.

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