SMB seeks vindication
by Jonas Terrado
Games Today (Ynares Center, Antipolo City)
4:30 p.m. – NLEX vs Blackwater
6:45 p.m. – TNT KaTropa vs San Miguel
Blackwater is out to regain the solo lead while San Miguel Beer seeks redemption following its disappointing loss as they face separate rivals in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup at the Ynares Center in Antipolo City.
The Elite battle the winless NLEX Road Warriors at 4:30 p.m. while the Beermen test the TNT KaTropa in the 6:45 p.m. second game of the Petron Blaze Saturday Special.
Coach Aries Dimaunahan is out to sustain Blackwater’s impressive start behind rookie Ray Parks Jr. and import Alex Stepheson.
Parks and Stepheson are leading the Elite in scoring with averages of 22.4 points per game.
Mac Belo has also been a consistent performer under Dimaunahan, posting 13.4 points, 8.0 rebounds and 3.4 assists.
NLEX tries to end a 0-4 start with import Tony Mitchell around.
Meanwhile, San Miguel Beer should play with a lot of fire after its campaign began on a sour note, absorbing a shocking 111-88 loss to NorthPort last Wednesday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
The embarrassing setback was the Beermen’s worst since a 109-68 loss to guest team Smart Gilas in the 2011 Commissioner’s Cup.
But the Beermen’s quest to avoid a 0-2 start will likely be difficult as they take on the KaTropa and explosive import Terrence Jones.
Jones, who once played for the Houston Rockets, has posted 35.3 points highlighted by three 40-point games.
He fired 40 in Sunday’s 114-88 romp of Phoenix Pulse but that match was remembered for Jones being the recipient of a clothesline tackle by Calvin Abueva, who was later suspended indefinitely by the PBA Commissioner’s Office.
But Jones was also fined a total of R70,000 for hitting Abueva in the groin area on the previous play and for shoving an official when he tried to charge the controversial cager.