PBA Winless teams Meralco and Terrafirma will battle against each other at 3 p.m. while league leader Bay Area Dragons will try to keep their winning ways when they clash against Converge FiberXers at 5:45 p.m. as the PBA Commissioner’s Cup resumes at the Smart Araneta Coliseum on Friday, October 7.
The Meralco Bolts, toting a 0-2 win-loss card, and 0-3 Terrafirma Dyip, must score a victory this time to end their losing streaks in the mid-season conference.
Head coach Norman Black said, “It’s an important game because just like them we need to enter the win column.”
But his squad will miss the services of Chris Newsome anew as the latter is suffering from a calf injury following Meralco’s 95-101 overtime loss at the hands of NorthPort. Newsome just sat out when the Bolts succumbed to the Barangay Ginebra Gin Kings, 91-99, last Sunday.
Imports show up
“Hopefully, this week of preparations will help us adjust to the loss of Chris Newsome, who will be out for at least three games,” the veteran coach said as he pins his hopes on their import Johnny O’Bryant III who averages 30.5 points, 19 rebounds and 4.5 assists in his last two games.
Black’s main concern though is how to stop Terrafirma import Lester Prosper, who was limited to 20 points when they lost to Rain or Shine last Sunday. Prosper made 42 and 22 in Dyip’s first two outings.
“Our defense against Prosper will be key,” Black said.
Terrafirma Dyip is no way better having lost their first three matches to extend a 19-game losing streak since the last season.
“Mga players hindi pa naman nag-gi-give up (Our players are not giving up yet),” Dyip coach Johnedel Cardel said, adding that he still believes his wards still have something to show and prove.
Cardel told his players that all remaining games are still important, not just to bag wins and finally put a stop to their losing streak but to keep their playoff bid alive.
He, however, admitted that some Dyip mainstays have started to doubt and were beginning to get discouraged but Cardel urged them and the other coaches to not lose hope.
Cardel also said, “Pero may mga games pa, hindi dapat sumuko na lang. ‘Basta makuha lang natin laro natin, as long as we play as a team, makukuha rin natin ang panalo,’ ang sabi ko sa kanila (But there are still games, you shouldn’t just give up. ‘As long as we can win our game, as long as we play as a team, we can win,’ I told them).”
PBA Bay Dragons
Meanwhile, Bay Dragons will have Myles Blake Powell lead the crew to a fourth straight win before coach Brian Goorjian gives Andrew Nicholson the opportunity in their next four games. This will help Goorjian decide who will stay on for the remaining games of the conference as the PBA Commissioner’s Cup only allows one import per team.
The Quincy Miles-led FiberXers, for their part, aim to bounce back from their loss to the Magnolia Hotshots.
Coach Aldin Ayo and his FiberXers bowed to the Hotshots, 105-109, after eking out a 124-110 win over Terrafirma Dyip.
They will face a formidable team in the Dragons who earlier demolished Blackwater Bossing (133-87), Batang Pier (105-104), and the Phoenix Super LPG Fuel Masters (101-91).
Former Philadelphia Sixer Powell, who averages 36.7 points per game, steered the Dragons’ perfect start. And they will most likely become a strong force to reckon with the entry of six-foot-10 NBA five-season veteran Nicholson who will make his debut against the Gin Kings on Sunday. Nicholson had stints playing for Orlando, Washington, and Brooklyn.