Powerade takes on winless Alaska; Petron Blaze eyes solo leadBy Musong R. Castillo
Philippine Daily Inquirer
MANILA, Philippines—Petron Blaze seeks a third straight win against winless newcomer Shopinas.com Sunday as Alaska shoots for a first victory in the PBA Philippine Cup eliminations at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
After turning back two formidable squads, the Boosters are the logical choices to extend their winning streak in the 4:15 p.m. contest before the Aces take the floor against dangerous Powerade in the 6:30 p.m. mainer.
Arwind Santos and Alex Cabagnot will continue to be the Boosters’ main men, with rookie Chris Lutz expected to also play major minutes and keep in step with the other rookies who have been impressive thus far in the young season-opening tournament.
Cabagnot was the hero in Petron’s first two victories, while Santos is churning out MVP-like all-around numbers.
Lutz, a former Smart Gilas standout, has been the revelation for coach Ato Agustin, settling in immediately in the off guard position where he has become another double-barreled threat in the already formidable Petron roster.
The Boosters are tied with idle Talk ‘N Text for the lead while the Aces have dropped two close games, the last against B-Meg and old coach Tim Cone.
Alaska has shown no signs of struggling under new coach Joel Banal, but the Aces have failed to get things together in the clutch.
Cyrus Baguio, LA Tenorio and Sonny Thoss, veterans of the old Alaska squad, will again carry the fight for the Aces, with rookie Mac Baracael to play major minutes again and provide intensity on both ends.
Jayvee Casio, the first overall choice in the Draft, sat out the first two games of the Tigers as veteran Gary David has been left with much of the scoring burden together with Marcio Lassiter.
Another former Smart Gilas standout, Lassiter is playing true to form for the Tigers, who are looking to make a significant playoff run this season.