LESS than five days after declaring the “gorilla” was off its back, Air21 faces “King Kong” of the PLDT MyDSL PBA Philippine Cup today when the Express battle the unbeaten Petron Blaze Boosters at Smart Araneta Coliseum in Cubao.
Game time is 5:45 p.m. with the Express, after snapping a five-game losing streak on Saturday, again installed as the underdogs against the streaking Boosters.
“We have gotten the gorilla off our backs,” Pumaren had said after a 92-77 win over slumping Barako Bull.
But Petron is far superior than Barako Bull and the Boosters will not only have Chris Lutz back but may also suit up all-star point guard Alex Cabagnot.
San Mig Coffee and Meralco slug it out in the 8 p.m. main game.
The star-studded Boosters have been unbeaten in five games and have brought down some of the more fancied teams in the field during their run. And with the complement of a near-complete lineup, Petron will be even hotter to handle.
June Mar Fajardo has been churning out mammoth games befitting his massive frame, and it will be up to Asi Taulava, the 40-year-old veteran, to try and stop the league’s leading rebounder.
Fajardo is dominating the league in a way that not even Taulava was able to do in his heyday.
Marcio Lassiter and reigning MVP Arwind Santos will be the other concerns of Pumaren, who will try to lean on KG Canaleta and Bonbon Custodio for production as well as the comebacking Mac Cardona.
Petron pieced together that sterling run even without Cabagnot and three others, as coach Gee Abanilla has gotten his shock troopers to perform extensively well.
Meanwhile, the Mixers and the Bolts will try to bounce back from narrow losses and work their way up the standings.
At 1-4 and 2-3, respectively, San Mig and Meralco are in the bottom half and would need to string together some wins to be able to earn an equal chance in the first round of the playoffs.