Petron Blaze and B-Meg, among teams looking to have a lot to offer in the new season, take on each other to start their campaigns in the 2011-12 PBA Philippine Cup at the Cuneta Astrodome Wednesday.
The Boosters are riding the momentum of their Governors Cup triumph while the Llamados are setting out inspired and motivated by the return of a number of key stalwarts plus the arrival of new coach Tim Cone.
They play at 7:30 p.m. with both eager to get to a good start in the season.
“We’re expecting a great rivalry with Petron and Ginebra this conference and it’s going to start in this first game,” said Cone.
“Petron will have great confidence coming off their championship, so they will be very formidable. I’m very curious to see how we stack up to them this early,” Cone added.
For Petron, a little setback was a deal with Mark Borboran that didn’t push through.
Coach Ato Agustin, however, insists they will make do with what they have got.
Borboran will have to wait awhile for which team to play with.
Commissioner Chito Salud has approved the trade deal sending the signing rights for Borboran to Meralco in exchange for the Bolts’ second round picks in 2013 and 2014. Meralco has five days to match the playing contract Petron offered Borboran.
Meantime, Petron plays with only an 11-man lineup minus Borboran and injured players Jay Washington and Rabeh Al-Hussaini.
The Boosters may well face a tough challenge against Llamados who are optimistic of a bright future with their health woes over.
The return of Kerby Raymundo, Rico Maierhofer and Rafi Reavis has given Cone a lineup that can well match up with any team.
“We can’t be modest because we really have a strong lineup. The Llamados are llamado this season,” said B-MEG governor Rene Pardo.
“The guys have yet to fully adapt to coach Tim’s triangle offense. But even if it bogs down, I think talent alone can bring us to the championship,” Pardo added.
Of course, Petron can’t be underestimated with what it has shown in the last tourney.
The Boosters’ roster has its improvement on the return of Dondon Hontiveros and the addition of Gilas mainstay Chris Lutz.
Carlo Sharma, acquired in exchange for Mick Pennisi, is said to be doing well in practice. (SB)