Confused Boosters battle ‘high’ EnergyBy Musong R. Castillo
Philippine Daily Inquirer
POWERHOUSE Petron Blaze battles Barako Bull today in the PBA Philippine Cup eliminations, looking to bounce back after a season-opening loss that exposed the Boosters’ lack of cohesiveness under new coaches.
Gametime is 7:30 p.m. at Smart Araneta Coliseum with the Boosters drawing a relatively lighter foe in Barako Bull, which is also looking to exploit the kinks in the Petron armor and secure a second straight victory.
Alaska and Meralco slug it out in the first game at 5:15 p.m. with both squads also looking for a first win.
Olsen Racela and Rajko Toroman were obviously both calling the shots for the Boosters in a lopsided loss to Rain or Shine last Wednesday, one which came so unexpectedly considering the strength of the Petron roster on paper.
June Mar Fajardo, the top overall choice in the last Rookie Draft, literally had a bloody debut and was held down to harmless numbers by the Elasto Painters.
Petron bombed out of the semifinals in this same tournament last season after leading eventual champion Talk ‘N Text, 3-1, in the best-of-seven series.
That elimination eventually triggered the sacking as head coach of Ato Agustin, who came up short again in two more conferences.
“I’m a team player, always have been,” Racela said, when asked about an incident when the Serbian Toroman yanked the whiteboard from his hands during one timeout in the Rain or Shine game.
“Masama bang tingnan (Does it look bad)?,” Racela said with a smile when asked about the coaching setup.
Petron has one of the league’s most talented lineups and topped all pre-tournament surveys.
Jay Washington, Arwind Santos, Alex Cabagnot, Chris Lutz, Joseph Yeo, Fajardo, among others, form the core of the Boosters.
The Energy, on the other hand, will be seeking a followup to their 90-87 victory over Rain or Shine with coach Junnel Baculi making no secret that his team is now being led by Ronald Tubid.
Danny Seigle is expected back in the Barako Bull lineup to give Tubid the much-needed scoring support.
Sean Anthony and Doug Kramer are also tipped to play pivotal roles if the Energy are to pin a second straight loss on the Boosters.