July 22, 2017

Blackwater seeks bounce back victory against Star

AFTER coming up just short in each of the first two conferences this season Star wants to go all the way this time.

But first the Hotshots must get off to a good start, which they aim to do when they take on a Blackwater crew aiming for a big rebound Sunday in the PBA Governors Cup at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

The Elite, who have finished near the bottom in their first eight conferences with the league, launched their own bid for redemption with a sorry 78-107 loss to Meralco last Friday in a game where they got dominated for majority of the contest.

Blackwater coming up with its A-game and pulling the rug from under Star are not too far-fetched, according to Hotshots coach Chito Victolero himself.

"We know naman the capability of each team and Blackwater can spring a surprise like it has done in the past," said Victolero, whose side could not go past the semifinals in their first two conferences together.

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"Kaya I keep reminding the players na hindi p'wedeng i-let down namin ang guard namin. We should always be on our toes against a very dangerous team like Blackwater na ngayon may extra motivation pa to bounce back from their loss."

Key for Star should be on how its locals, having to make do with Gilas player Jio Jalalon and the injured Marc Pingris, give import Cinmeon Bowers the much-needed support.

Bowers, a 240-lb power forward out of Auburn who has seen action in Israel and Puerto Rico, is a defense-oriented banger who can also operate from both inside and the perimeter on the offensive end.

Blackwater has its own concerns about reinforcement Trevis Simpson.

Relatively short at 6-2 and lighter, Simpson notched 25 points and eight rebounds in his PBA debut but scored most of his points against Meralco in the second half when the game was already beyond the Elite's reach.

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Worse, only Bambam Gamalinda was able to backstop Simpson with 10 points as the likes of Mike Digregorio, KG Canaleta, Reil Cervantes and Reil Cervantes struggled, resulting in the Elite shooting 0-for-13 from beyond the arc.
That simple wouldn't do against a Star crew that boasts of Allein Maliksi, Paul Lee, Mark Barroca, PJ Simon, Aldrech Ramos and Ian Sangalang, among others.