Sister teams start quest

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Friday, March 7, 2014


SISTER teams San Miguel Beer and Ginebra start respective quests to end a long title drought when they face separate foes today in the 39th Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) Commissioner's Cup at the Araneta Coliseum.

After being restored to its original name in celebration of a Grandslam year 25 years ago, the Beermen, with new head coach Biboy Ravanes and new players Solomon Mercado and Rico Maierhofer will face Meralco Bolts at 5:45 p.m., while Ginebra, which opted for smallest import Leon Rodgers will meet Barako Bull at 8 p.m.

Ginebra Coach Ato Agustin said that the 6'5” Rodgers is all they need to complement their two big men in Greg Slaughter and Japeth Aguilar. The high-scoring 33-year-old Rodgers was a former standout of Northern Illinois University where he averaged 21.3 points, 1.2 three-point shots, 8.5 rebounds, 2.2 assists, 0.6 steals and 0.7 blocks. As a professional, he has the most experience having played in Germany, France, The Netherlands, Puerto Rico and China since 2002.

“He can play either No. 4 or No. 5. That's what I like of him,” said Agustin.

Opposing Rodgers is Barako Bull’s 6’7” forward Joshua Dollard, who replaced Dwayne Chism. The 28-year-old Dollard has played in Finland, Dominican Republic, Columbia, Greece and Turkey after a season with the University of South Carolina Aiken in the US NCAA where he averaged 15.3 points and 7.4 rebounds a game.

The Beermen, on the other hand, will parade 6’9” Oscar Josha Boone, a former member of the New Jersey Nets. The 29-year-old Boone played for three years with the University of Connecticut Huskies that won the US NCAA championship in 2004. He turned pro in 2006 and was 23rd overall pick by the Nets where he averaged 5.2 points, 4.9 rebounds and 0.7 blocks for four seasons.

“I'm sure fit siya (Boone) sa amin. Bagay siya kay Arwind (Santos) at June Mar (Fajardo) because they can complement each other. Hindi siya talaga 'yung tipong go-to-guy. But just wants to work hard. Parang role player who can get all those rebounds, and play defense. Hindi namin talaga kailangan ng shooter kasi madami na kami, so parang perfect fit siya sa amin,” coach Ravanes said.

The Cebuano Ravanes said that new transferee Solomon Mercado, who replaced Alex Cabagnot and new acquisition Rico Mauirhofer added depth to the Beermen especially in the end game.

“If we review our games in the past, we have a problem in the end game. Parang hirap kami maka-finish. Sa end game, nawawala. The additions of Sol and Rico, malaking factor 'yun. Importante sa amin na when the going gets tough, may magle-lead sa team inside the court, especially for Sol Mercado. At 'yun ang factor kaya kinuha namin siya,” he added.
On hand to give the Beermen a tough competition is 6’11” Brian Butch of Meralco, who also extended the contract of veteran Danny Ildefonso for the rest of the season. (FCC)

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on March 07, 2014.

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