Barako Bull, B-Meg dispute PBA lead | Inquirer Sports
Opening-day winners clash

Barako Bull, B-Meg dispute PBA lead

By: - Reporter / @junavINQ
/ 11:19 PM February 14, 2012

Cyrus Baguio of Alaska puts the move on Ronald Tubid of Barako Bull. ROMY HOMILLADA

MANILA, Philippines—Barako Bull and B-Meg try to snatch the solo lead at each other’s expense while Meralco and Petron Blaze set out to nail their first victory Wednesday night in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup at the Cuneta Astrodome.

The Energy chalked up the first blowout of the conference with a 20-point victory over the Alaska Aces in the conference opener and they are hoping to follow it up with a win over the spunky Llamados.


“We were also like this [strong] last conference, but I think we learned our lesson well,” said Barako Bull coach Junel Baculi of his squad, which started hot only to sputter in the quarterfinals of the Philippine Cup.
“We have a good import, but he’ll only be good if the locals are good.”


Dermarr Johnson, picked sixth overall by the Atlanta Hawks in the 2000 NBA Draft, shot 19 points and hauled down eight rebounds to pace the Energy against the Aces.

Also coming off a win, the Llamados leaned on Denzel Bowles’ free throws to survive the Bolts in a 96-93 decision.

The 6-foot-10 Bowles, backed up by a resilient local crew starring two-time MVP James Yap, Joe DeVance, PJ Simon, Marc Pingris and rookie Mark Barroca, should be able to play for 48 minutes comfortably if coach Tim Cone so desires.

“I think Denzel is as good as advertised,” said Cone. “He just ran out of steam in the second half. He has to adjust, and when he does, he’s going to be something else.”

When it comes to matchups, the B-Meg coach considers the 6-9 Johnson as the No. 1 import since the sneaky off-the-dribble player has Mick Pennisi and Dorian Peña as backups in the paint.

“You can’t play him (Johnson) straight up while Pennisi and Peña are tough to hold,” said Cone. “They have a tough combination down low.”


Petron Blaze presents a similar problem for the Bolts in terms of bench depth. Meralco import Jarrid Famous had 24 points and 15 rebounds in his first game but performed miserably from the free throw line with a 2-of-7 clip.

“As an import, the challenge is for him (Famous) to play at an optimum level the whole game,” said Meralco coach Ryan Gregorio.

The Boosters had victory within sight when Nicolas Fazekas buried a long three-pointer with 4.1 seconds left. But Jayjay Helterbrand rattled in an off-balanced jumper at the buzzer for an 84-82 Barangay Ginebra win.

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“Hopefully, this game will give us a chance to stabilize,” said Gregorio. “When you play elite teams, you need to combine hard work with basketball intelligence. “This is what we need to do against Petron.”

TAGS: B-Meg Llamados, Barako Bull Energy, Basketball, Denzel Bowles, James Yap, Joe Devance, Marc Pingris, Meralco Bolts, PBA Commissioner's Cup, Petron Blaze Boosters, PJ Simon, Sports

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