ERIC Dawson will be a marked man when the Meralco Bolts tackle the streaking Barangay Ginebra Kings in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup today at Smart Araneta Coliseum.
The high-energy forward dropped a season-best 57 points over the Petron Blaze Boosters in a recent come-from-behind 102-92 win and that should certainly be a cause for concern of the Gin Kings.
On a five-game roll, the Gin Kings need all the defensive prowess of the dynamic Vernon Macklin to stop Dawson, who has a proven track record of explosiveness after notching a previous career-high of 41 points for the Austin Toros in the 2008 NBA D-League season.
The Boosters, who paraded another NBDL hotshot in Henry Sims last time out, aim to recover from a forgettable performance when they tangle with the Barako Bull Energy in the 4:15 p.m. opener.
The challenge for the 6-foot-10 Sims is greater this time around as the Energy now count with the services of former Los Angeles Laker center DJ Mbenga, who replaced Brock Evan after a losing record (4-7) in 11 games.
Brock was given the pink slip despite anchoring the Energy to a 105-100 victory over San Mig Coffee last week that snapped a six-game plunge.
Hampered by injuries, the Gin Kings will welcome back Kerby Raymundo and Rico Maierhofer into the fold while Mark Caguioa, who bruised his medial collateral ligament almost two weeks ago, hasn’t been cleared to play just yet.
“It’s 50-50 for Mark but we’ll know before the game,” said Ginebra coach Alfrancis Chua. “I just told the guys to be ready once I call their names.”
Caguioa, last season’s MVP, joined shooting drills but has shied away from scrimmages after skipping the past two games.
In a PBA road game last night in Iloilo, Talk ‘N Text tied idle San Mig Coffee at 6-6 after a 94-84 trouncing of cellar dweller Globalport. The Batang Pier dropped to 2-10.
TALK N’ TEXT 94—Reyes 24, Alapag 20, De Ocampo 13, Castro 12, Harvey 6, Fonacier 6, Al-Hussaini 6, Aban 5, Carey 2, Raymundo 0, Peek 0.
GLOBALPORT 84—Morgan 19, Miller 15, Deutchman 12, Aguilar 11, David 10, Juntilla 5, Belencion 4, Yee 3, Antonio 3, Mandani 2, Salvador 0, Lingganay 0.
Quarters: 29-27, 56-40, 75-66, 94-84