Wednesday, 9 March 2011

PBA: Gilas eye share of lead vs Express; Aces, Beermen collide

Posted by chardyboy on Wednesday, March 09, 2011 1 comments

source: gma news

Pilipinas-Smart Gilas goes for a share of the lead anew in the PBA Commisioner's Cup as it battles Air21 Wednesday at the Astrodome.

The Nationals are seeking their third straight win going into the 5 p.m. encounter with the Express.

Pilipinas-Smart Gilas is fresh from beating powerhouse teams Talk `N Text and Alaska in their first two outings.

But catching up with solo leader Rain or Shine (3-0) on top of the standings may come a bit difficult for the Nationals, especially if Marcus Douthit doesn’t come in 100 percent fit.

The 6-foot-11 center, a candidate for naturalization, was inadvertently hit above his left eyebrow in the Nationals’ 91-89 overtime win over the Aces, forcing him to play the rest of the game sporting a big bandage just above his forehead.

With Douthit a doubtful starter, Smart Gilas coach Rajko Toroman admitted it’s going to be an uphill climb against an Air21 (1-2) side that will parade a new import in Alpha Bangura.

“It will be a very difficult game for us," said Toroman. “We don’t know if Marcus can play. Air21 is a strong team now because of the players they got in the trade."
The Serbian mentor is obviously referring to veterans Dondon Hontiveros, Danny Seigle and Dorian Pena, whom the Express acquired together with pesky guard Paul Artadi in a blockbuster trade that involved the Express’ top three rookie picks — Noy Baclao, Rabeh Al-Hussaini and Rey Guevarra — who were shipped to the Beermen.

While Air21 lost to the Tropang Texters in the debut of the four ex-Beermen in Davao City, the Express are expected to get better as the tournament wears on.

Besides, the team will have a new spark with the acquisition of reinforcement Alpha Bangura, who will replace the ineffective Jeremy Robinson.

A product of St. John, Bangura last saw action in Lebanon with the Anibal team, where he suited up for nine games and averaged 22.4 points and 7.1 rebounds.

“He (Bangura) is a very strong and athletic player, one of the best imports in Lebanon," said Toroman, who’s adept as far as international competitions and players are concerned.

Like Air21, San Miguel will have a new import in David Young when it faces Alaska in the 7:30 p.m. main game.

Young takes over the spot vacated by Ira Brown, ironically the man who scored the game-winning shot at the buzzer in the Beermen’s tense 90-89 victory over the Meralco Bolts last week.

The Beermen (1-1) obviously have yet to play cohesive basketball following the acquisition of the three rookies from the Express, a situation Alaska coach Tim Cone should fully exploit.

“This might be the best time to play San Miguel, as they try to integrate a couple of key players and a new import into their system," said Cone. “Also, we’ll see how resilient we can be as we try to bounce back from our tough loss to Smart-Gilas."

The 30-year-old Young last saw action in the Chinese League where he played 13 games for Jilin and averaged 22.2 points and 4.9 rebounds.

He faces an immediate acid test in Alaska’s L.D. Williams, easily one of the most effective imports in this year’s batch. The Alaska reinforcement normed 17 rebounds and 14 points in the Aces’ last outing.


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