Two weeks after its sad experience with import Renaldo Balkman, Petron Blaze moves on with Rodney White as it battles Talk ‘N Text for a share of the PBA Commissioner’s Cup lead Friday at Smart Araneta Coliseum.
After winning their last game with an all-Filipino lineup, the Boosters clash with the Texters at 5:15 p.m. with White trying to prove his worth as a replacement for Balkman, who seemed a perfect fit for Petron until a fit of rage cost him his PBA career.
White arrived last Sunday and immediately impressed the coach staff headed by Olsen Racela.
“He’s a good import, a very smart player,” Racela said of White, who is expected to have his hands full against his Talk ‘N Text counterpart Donnell Harvey and a solid local crew that won the Philippine Cup this season.
Meanwhile, Barangay Ginebra tries to win three straight games for the first time and climb into the middle of the pack when the Gin Kings clash with the dangerous Meralco Bolts in the 7:30 p.m. contest.
Ginebra is fresh off two victories against formidable foes with Vernon Macklin, its second import for the tournament, proving to be what the doctor had ordered for the firepower-laden Gin Kings.
White saw action for five games for Barako Bull last season but had to leave the team to attend to his ailing father in the United States. He was impressive with the Energy in his brief stint.
“We will have to sustain our intensity if we want to keep on winning,” added Racela, whose wards will try to match the leading 7-2 cards of Alaska.
Coach Norman Black of Talk ‘N Text said the Texters need to play with a sense or urgency, especially on the defensive end.
With a 4-4 slate, Talk ‘N Text, the most dominant team of the decade, has lost the same number of games it did in winning the Philippine Cup in 22 outings, including a sweep of Rain or Shine in the finals.
Macklin is playing inspired ball while letting his local teammates hog all the spotlight.
He delivers when needed, but seems very content in doing the dirty work underneath and getting his points from a solid work ethic.
Reigning MVP Mark Caguioa is coming off a big game and will be a marked man as far as the Meralco defense is concerned.