Powerade, Barako Bull knockout encounter todayBy Musong R. Castillo
Philippine Daily Inquirer
POWERADE and Barako Bull knock each other out today with the winner advancing to another do-or-die match tomorrow against Meralco to determine the sixth and last semifinalist of the PBA Governors’ Cup.
Game time is 6:45 p.m. at Smart Araneta Coliseum in Cubao with the Tigers having an advantage of sorts since the Energy, a veterans-laden squad, will be coming into the contest tired after a hard win Sunday.
The three-team playoffs was the result of an 81-79 decision the Energy pulled off over the Bolts Sunday night, and Barako Bull coach Junel Baculi made no secret of his plan to manage the strength of his veterans.
The Energy could have gained at least another night’s rest if not for their recklessness in almost blowing a 17-point fourth-quarter lead. They eventually won by just two over the Bolts.
Had Barako Bull won by at least five points, it would have finished with the better quotient and gained the privilege of waiting for the winner of the first KO match that would have pitted the Bolts and the Tigers.
Powerade should have also made the playoffs at least two weeks ago, if not for its complacency against ousted Air21, which went on to win, 128-121.
That loss snapped the Tigers’ four-game winning streak and they never won again. They eventually ended the eliminations with a 4-5 slate like the Energy and the Bolts.
Rain or Shine, Talk ‘N Text, B-Meg, defending titlist Petron Blaze, and Barangay Ginebra were the first five teams to make the playoffs.
The Elasto Painters improved their leading record to 8-1 and bolstered their bid for a first-ever title series appearance after a 92-90 decision of the Tropang Texters, also on Sunday.
Incidentally, the Boosters have enlisted the services of Italian league veteran Paul Marigney. Marigney will take over from the injured Eddie Basden, who they plan to reactivate if they go deeper into the playoffs.
Willie Miller and Leroy Hickerson are expected to be the prime offensive options again for the Energy, while Gary David will be backed up by import Omar Sneed and a hard-working local crew that took them all the way to the Philippine Cup Finals this season.