Purefoods take on Douthit, Elite; Painters clash with Batang Pier
MANILA, Philippines—In more than two decades as a coach in the PBA, Tim Cone rarely talks with so much confidence—unless he is absolutely certain about it.
“I haven’t said this in a long time, but I think we’re ready (this early) in the conference,” Cone said last week after his defending champion Purefoods crew notched an impressive second straight triumph in the Commissioner’s Cup eliminations.
And Cone said that despite the fact the Star Hotshots were playing an interim import.
Purefoods is again listed as a solid pick to post win No. 3 against struggling newcomer Blackwater Elite at Smart Araneta Coliseum today, with Cone sticking it out with Marqus Blakely to give NBA veteran Daniel Orton time to heal a swollen shooting hand.
Game time is 7 p.m.
Orton planed in last Tuesday and saw his teammates tear the Alaska Aces to shreds with Blakely again outplaying a bigger counterpart.
The two-time Best Import will now be ranged against veteran internationalist Marcus Douthit, who will try to guide the Elite to a first-ever win in the PBA.
On loan from Gilas Pilipinas with original import pick Chris Charles still nursing a hamstring pull, Douthit helped Blackwater take a 66-60 lead against Talk ‘N Text last Saturday before the Elite eventually lost steam and lost.
Rain or Shine and Globalport will try to stay in touch with frontrunning Meralco (3-0) when they clash in the first game at 4:15 p.m.
The Elasto Painters and the Batang Pier have 1-1 records, though Rain or Shine will be coming off a victory, against NLEX. Globalport is still licking the wounds of a lopsided defeat handed by the Star Hotshots last week.
Playing under a new name in the all-Filipino Philippine Cup last October, Purefoods opened with three straight defeats and was booted out in the quarterfinals, still hung over from its Grand Slam season.
James Yap, Marc Pingris, Joe Devance and Mark Barroca will be the main support for Blakely, who is under contract until Feb. 13.
“We can always extend (Blakely’s) contract,” said Cone. “But he will surely be with us in the third conference.”
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.