AFTER its three-game skid came to a halt, defending champion San Mig Coffee now hopes to put together a winning streak in order to get into the thick of the fight in the 2013 PBA Commissioner’s Cup.
That is what makes the Mixers a lot more dangerous when they face an inconsistent GlobalPort squad in the third road game of the tournament Saturday at the Naga City Coliseum in Camarines Sur.
Gametime is at 6:30 p.m.
San Mig Coffee started its title retention bid by playing without an import and bowing to Barako Bull, 79-75.
For a while ,it looked like the Mixers were better off without a reinforcement because when Matt Rogers joined the team against Petron Blaze, the Mixers were bamboozled by the Boosters, 98-73. That led to Rogers’ being given the pink slip.
In came Denzel Bowles who led the team then known as B-Meg to the championship of the tournament a season back. But Bowles was unimpressive in his first game as he coughed up only 12 points and 14 rebounds and San Mig Coffee suffered an even more humiliating setback to Rain or Shine, 65-93.
Well, two days later, all the pains of losing dissipated as San Mig Coffee registered its first win against no less than reigning Philippine Cup titlist Talk N Text, 90-82.
That was a statement victory if ever there’s any. And now it seems the Mixers are ready to mow down the opposition and show everyone’s who’s really boss.
Against the Tropang Texters, Bowles also showed why he is the reigning Best Import as he exploded with 29 points and 23 rebounds.
“Bowles had three practices before his first game with us. He hasn’t played since October. He was just rehabbing his knee. He’s in gym shape but not in game shape. But Denzel is too skilled not to be a good player in our league,” said San Mig Coffee coach Tim Cone.
But Bowles wasn’t the only key to victory.
In that match, two-time Most Valuable Player James Yap was held to only six points. But the rest of the gang showed up to fill the void. Marc Pingris, Joe Devance and Peter June Simon all wound up with double figures in scoring.
As it is, Yap is still the only local for San Mig Coffee averaging double figures in scoring. He is good for 15.75 points aside from recording 1.5 rebounds and 1.75 assists in 26 minutes.
On the same night that San Mig ended its losing ways, GlobalPort suffered yet another shocker of a setback courtesy of Sunday Salvacion, who drilled in a buzzer-beating triple that lifted the Meralco Bolts past the Batang Pier, 90-89.
As a result, GlobalPort dropped to 2-3 and should the Batang Pier fail to rebound from that humbling experience, they’d be trading places with the Mixers in the team standings.
Bowles will go up against Justin Williams who has really struggled so far with an average of only 14.4 points. However, the strong suits of Williams are in rebounds (18.6) and blocked shots (5.0).
Still, there are talks that Williams might be on his way out if he does not improve on his numbers. The faceoff with Bowles would be a good time to step up.
But of course, scoring isn’t really a problem for GlobalPort as the Batang Pier are led by two-time scoring champion Gary David, who is norming 23 points a game. And then there’s Sol Mercado, the scoring champion of the recent Philippine Cup while he was still playing for the Meralco Bolts. Mercado has so far elected to shoot less and pass more. He averages 13.6 points and 10.6 assists in 37.4 minutes.
Add Japhet Aguilar to the mix. Aguilar, who is hellbent on showing everyone he deserves not only minutes on the floor but more respect, contributes 12.6 points on top of 8.2 rebounds, 2.2 assists, a steal and 2.6 blocked shots in 33.8 minutes.
Of course, two-time MVP Willie Miller is still a potent force. With all the scorers on his team, Miller plays a more laid back role but can still deliver when asked to do so.
It won’t be a walk in the park for San Mig Coffee especially with GlobalPort wanting to redeem itself and erase the stigma of being a team prone to collapse in the endgame. (BP)