MANILA, Philippines—Playing well despite many off-court distractions, Powerade shoots for a third straight win and a share of the PBA Commissioner’s Cup lead when the Tigers battle skidding Barako Bull Friday at the Cuneta Astrodome in Pasay.
Gametime is 7:30 p.m. with a victory lifting the Tigers on top with idle defending champion Talk ‘N Text while pushing the Energy closer to elimination in the short tournament.
Meralco, one of three teams at the bottom of the 10-team field with a 1-3 record like Barako Bull, also tries to snap out of a slump earlier when it clashes with formid-able Alaska and Adam Parada in the 5:15 p.m. opener.
Powerade, which is set to be sold at the end of the season, won its first two games as the Tigers’ Big Three of Gary David and rookies JV Casio and Marcio Lassiter picked up from where they left off in the Philippine Cup, where they finished a fighting second.
“Playing decent defense in every game is what we are aiming for,” said Powerade coach Bo Perasol. “If we can achieve that, I don’t think we will have any problems in the games ahead.”
Only six teams will advance to the playoffs after a single round, making each game for every team vital from this point on.
On Sunday, the Tigers will tangle with Ginebra and new import Jackson Vroman, a talented naturalized center for Lebanon, who was signed by the Gin Kings just days before an offer from Talk ‘N Text arrived.
Now, Talk ‘N Text is awaiting the arrival of Donnell Harvey, the top rebounder in the recent Chinese pro league, to take over from Omar Samhan as its import.
Harvey, at just 6-foot-8, averaged 24 points and 14 rebounds for the Tianjin R, making coach Chot Reyes excited about their title-retention chances.
The seeming reluctance of Harvey to board a plane to Manila, however, worries Reyes. The import was originally scheduled to arrive last Wednesday after the Texters pounded out a 102-96 upset of B-Meg despite playing all-Filipino.
“Nothing is sure until he arrives,” Reyes said.
Plan B would be for the Texters to sign a certain Herbert Hill in case Harvey gets cold feet about coming over because of reported tempting offers from Europe.
Meralco coach Ryan Gregorio, meanwhile, does not care who their opponents are and is more concerned about cohesion in his squad more than anything else.
“Right now, I am more concerned about our game more than our opponent, said the mutititled Gregorio. “That is something within our control.”