PBA: Both ends meet

October 17, 2019
Willie Marcial
PBA commissioner Willie Marcial gives a brief remark before the start of the Phoenix open practice at the Technological Institute of the Philippines campus, part of the league’s Campus Tour yesterday. It also served as a homecoming of sort for Joey Napoles, first TIP player to be selected in the annual draft.

TALK ‘N Text coach Bong Ravena admitted the KaTropa aren’t comfortable playing Alaska.

Here’s why.

“Alaska is coming from a big win and traditionally they (Aces) are playing so well against us,” said Ravena in a text message to People’s Journal yesterday.

Ravena was probably impressed with what he saw in the Aces who found a way behind a superb tandem of comebacking Jeron Teng and debuting import in Franko House.

Teng, who played his first game with the Aces last Sunday after a long bout with right hamstring injury, made clutch plays in the stretch as he helped the Aces pull through in a 78-71 win over Rain or Shine last Sunday.

The sophomore pro finished with 18 points, including eight in the final period when the Aces kept the Painters at bay, while House debuted with flourish after tallying 22 points and 23 rebounds.

At least, Ravena knew full well the kind of opponent his KaTropa are playing in the 7 p.m. encounter at the Ynares Center in Antipolo today.

Ravena’s concern though grew all the more disturbing, since the KaTropa, he said, have not been playing quite well.

“Our last three games were not really good,” stressed Ravena, referring to 116-113 win over Meralco last Saturday (Oct. 12), 125-120 overtime win over Columbian Dyip on October 5 and 123-118 spanking of Phoenix Pulse last Oct. 2.

“We have to play better tomorrow, especially on defense. We have to be aware of everything tomorrow (today),” added Ravena.

The KaTropa are actually on a roll with six straight victories, becoming the first Team to secure an outright spot in the quarterfinals of the PBA Governors’ Cup.

In their last win – at the expense of the Bolts – the KaTropa drew inspired performance from KJ McDaniels who engaged Meralco’s equally-dependable import in Allen Durham in a virtual showdown all gamelong.

McDaniels though got the better end of his duel with Durham, erupting for 51 points against the 43 points of the Meralco import.

The Bolts, meanwhile, try to rebound from that loss to TNT but face daunting task in their 4:30 p.m. meeting with a Blackwater team that’s riding high on last Wednesday’s 95-89 thumping of Magnolia.

The Bolts are gunning for their fourth win in six games that will keep them on the upper half of the standings, while the Elite are looking for their back-to-back win and third overall in six games.