MANILA—Already without former MVP candidate Jay Washington and Joseph Yeo, the Boosters also lost Lordy Tugade to a fractured finger in practice last Friday to compound a manpower situation that the team has actually been successful in overcoming so far.
In fact, the Boosters claimed the solo lead— and the first semifinal seat—on Saturday after a 101-96 decision of Grand Slam-seeking Talk ‘N Text in a game where coach Ato Agustin had to dig deep in his bench.
“We are looking at several talents, actually,” Agustin, the 1992 MVP, said in Filipino as he tried to conceal the identity of Wise’s replacement. The team, though, expects the replacement to arrive either tomorrow or Wednesday.
The new Petron import will have some awfully big shoes to fill with Wise ending his first PBA tour of duty after averaging close to 22 points, five rebounds and the same number of assists.
If ever, Allen will be the fourth import for the Boosters after original pick, NBA veteran Mike Taylor, pulled a hamstring in the preseason and failed to play a single official game.
Ricky Harris was tapped to replace Taylor but was sent back home after scoring just eight points in his only game. Wise took his spot and turned around the Boosters’ fortunes.
Barangay Ginebra, also after having settled down with Stinson, was forced to look for a temporary replacement after the former NBA D-League MVP bruised his right knee in a loss to the Tropang Texters in Dubai.
Actually, the Gin Kings also pulled out a win without the services of an import on Friday.
Ginebra has since tapped Donald Sloan to replace Stinson, who described his successor as another “great all-around talent.”