THE defending PBA Philippine Cup champions Barangay Ginebra San Miguel Kings and San Miguel Beermen return to action on Friday looking to bounce back after absorbing losses in their opening games.
Barangay Ginebra takes on the Blackwater Bossing at 3 p.m. and San Miguel collides with the NLEX Road Warriors at 6 p.m. in Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) matches set at the Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig City.
The Kings lost to NLEX, 94-75, on July 18 in a game where they never really got their collective game going and found it hard to keep in step with the Road Warriors.
Japeth Aguilar top-scored for Barangay Ginebra in their first game, finishing with 15 points to go along with five rebounds.
Scottie Thompson had a near triple-double of 12 points, 12 rebounds and nine assists while LA Tenorio tallied 11 points, five boards and five dimes.
Off-season acquisition Christian Standhardinger had eight points and 10 rebounds but was obviously finding his way in the Barangay Ginebra system.
“C-Stan struggled during the game. It’s different from our practices of course. But he’s a smart player and knows what was lacking and I expect him to bounce back,” said Mr. Tenorio of their new teammate, who they got from a big-man trade with Northport for Greg Slaughter.
Mr. Aguilar, for his part, highlighted how they never got to soar in their first game of the season-opening PBA tournament.
“We were outworked and we lacked effort, especially on defense,” he said.
The Kings now try to rebound against the Bossing, who are off to a slow start in the tournament, dropping their first two assignments.
The trio of Simon Enciso, Kelly Nabong and Ed Daquioag is showing the way so far for the Nash Racela-coached Bossing.
Mr. Enciso leads in scoring with 15 points per game followed by Mr. Nabong (12 points and eight rebounds) and Mr. Daquioag (11 points).
San Miguel, meanwhile, is coming off a 93-87 defeat at the hands of the Meralco Bolts also on July 18.
The Beermen welcomed back six-time PBA most valuable player June Mar Fajardo from injury and saw league scoring leader CJ Perez make his San Miguel debut, but they were not enough to save the team from bowing down in its opening game.
Making matters worse for San Miguel, it lost explosive guard Terrence Romeo to a knee injury (hyperextended) in the NLEX game. He is expected to miss the next few games of his team.
Mr. Romeo top-scored for the Beermen with 18 points before getting hurt while Mr. Perez and Mo Tautua added 17 points apiece. Mr. Fajardo played 18 minutes in his first game back and had five points and five rebounds.
“This is our first competitive game of the season and despite the result, I think we did well,” said Mr. Perez post-game. “We had a good start but we could not sustain it. We hope to address that in our next game.”
Out to continue to frustrate the Beermen are the Road Warriors (1-1) who are fresh from their conquest of Barangay Ginebra last time around. Guards Kevin Alas and Kiefer Ravena towed NLEX in the win, finishing with 20 and 19 points, respectively. — Michael Angelo S. Murillo