PBA Philippine Cup: Barako Bull edges Air21 behind ‘main man’By Mark Giongco
MANILA, Philippines—Barako Bull lost Willie Miller in the offseason and for head coach Junel Baculi, Ronald Tubid will have to fill the void.
Tubid responded with a game-high 19 points to lead the Energy Cola to a 90-87 squeaker over the Air21 Express Wednesday in the 38th PBA Philippine Cup at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
“Sean (Anthony) had his moments but the main man right now is Ronald Tubid,” said Baculi.
“We struggled defensively all night but hats off to Air21, they improved a lot. We didn’t respect them in the first half so I told my team we have to respect them.”
Tubid, a two-way player who can defend as well as he can score, made the insurance basket off a turnover with nine ticks left to set the final count.
Anthony, the former Powerade bruiser before being traded to Barako Bull, added 18 points, nine rebounds and five assists.
The Express had the chance to reclaim the lead but Mark Isip turned the ball over that led to Tubid’s late layup.
Nino Canaleta attempted a potential game-tying triple at the left corner but it rimmed out as time expired.
“We last played together, two weeks ago. Enrico’s still groping for form when it comes to our system but he’s a veteran; after a so-so first half he was able to recover. We have a lot of new faces and we have to build chemistry,” Baculi added.
Villanueva, a National team member, chipped in seven points and 14 rebounds.
Barako Bull missed the services of Danny Seigle, who was down with flu, but Baculi said the veteran forward will be back when they face Petron Blaze, whom the coach cited as “the strongest team right now,” on Saturday.
Former San Mig Coffee playmaker Josh Urbiztondo chipped in decent numbers with eight points, five rebounds and four assists.
“The acquisition of Josh Urbiztondo gives us the stability in the backcourt,” commended Baculi, whose team won the battle of the boards, 56-34.
Nonoy Baclao showed why he’s a top pick in the 2010 draft, with a career-high 18 points.
John Wilson, an NCAA MVP with the Jose Rizal University, contributed 17 points to go along with four rebounds and four assists.