MAGNOLIA Chicken Timplados and Barangay Ginebra make their debut today, September 28, in the PBA Commissioner's Cup.
The Hotshots take on Terrafirma Dyip in the 3 p.m. opener while the Gin Kings battle Rain or Shine in the 5:45 p.m. main event.
The Dyip and the Elasto Painters are coming from opening game losses and are looking to enter the win column today.
Terrafirma can take advantage of the possible absence of Calvin Abueva who is nursing an injury and is a game-time decision for the Hotshots.
With or without Abueva, Magnolia head coach Chito Victolero is optimistic his team will be ready to begin their campaign on a winning note. Hotshots import Serbian-American Nikola Rakocevic has also worked out with the team for almost three weeks now and Victolero believes he can match-up well with Terrafirma's hard-working reinforcement.
PBA veteran Lester Prosper waxed hot for the Dyip and finished with 43 points, 25 boards and five assists against Converge last Friday.
Despite Prosper's numbers, Terrafirma still bowed to the FiberXers, 110-124.
The rest of the team failed to give the former Indonesian naturalized player the much-needed support as the Dyip absorbed their 17th consecutive loss dating back to last season's Governors' Cup.
To end the slump, coach John Cardel needs Philip Cahilig, Joshua Munzon, Aldrech Ramos, Juan Miguel Tiongson and veteran Alex Cabagnot to play better against a prolific Magnolia team.
Victolero, on the other hand, said Rakocevic is already familiar with his teammates as well as the team's plays.
“'Yung import nakasama na namin for the last three weeks so chemistry with him OK naman. 'Yung mga players naging maganda rin pahinga kasi medyo talagang bugbog noong playoffs,” said Victolero who led Magnolia to a third place finish in the last Philippine Cup.
“Iyon lang kasi inaalalayan ko, timing at chemistry with the import.”
Victolero said the former Serbian Youth player has a decent outside shot, decent post moves and excellent counter-skills.
“He's not the best scoring import, but he's a hard worker, more defense-oriented,” the Hotshots coach said.
“Hopefully, itong import bumagay. Kasi iyon ang kulang sa amin, 'yung defensive big man na puwede namin asahan sa dulo at makakatulong sila Ian (Sangalang) at Rafi (Reavis) o kaya ni James (Laput).”
In the main game, Barangay Ginebra will play its first game in the tournament today after the PBA twin-bill was called off last Sunday due to Super Typhoon “Karding.
The Gin Kings were supposed to take on the FiberXers and the Meralco Bolts were supposed to battle the NLEX Road Warriors last Sunday.
Today, the country's most popular ball club meets a Rain or Shine team that is eager to bounce back from a 90-96 setback against NLEX last Friday.
Ginebra will also parade new trade acquisitions Jamie Malonzo from NorthPort and Von Pessumal from San Miguel Beer as well as returning import Justin Brownlee.
Gin Kings coach Tim Cone, however, can still rely on his old reliables Japeth Aguilar, Christian Standhardinger, LA Tenorio, Stanley Pringle and PBA Most Valuable Player Scottie Thompson.
Credit belongs to : www.manilatimes.net