GlobalPort will start the PBA Governors Cup with a severe handicap against Barangay Ginebra.
Veteran big men Billy Mamaril, Rico Maierhofer and Jay Washington, along with youthful forward Anthony Semerad won’t be around when the Batang Pier kick off their third conference campaign against the Kings on Saturday at the Mall of Asia Arena.
Franz Pumaren, GlobalPort’s active team consultant said the absence of their three key players will force them to rely more on comebacking import Dominique Sutton and the backcourt duo of Stanley Pringle and Terrence Romeo.
“We’re not trying to make any alibis against Ginebra, but we weren’t able to practice with complete roster,” Pumaren told FOX Sports on the eve of the team’s 5:15 p.m. match against Ginebra.
Mamaril, a former slotman, will still be out for a week due to back problems, while Washington strained his calf and will miss action for at least the next 4 weeks.
Maierhofer tore his right ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) while Semerad has a sprained MCL (medial collateral ligament).
Ginebra’s only handicap is missing top big man Greg Slaughter, who won’t be back till probably before the playoffs due to a recent ankle surgery.
“That’s why he’s (Sutton) here. He’ll do a lot of things for us, energize us, play good defense, plus scoring will be there also,” explained Pumaren, who is making a PBA comeback since his last coaching stint with Air21 in the 2014 PBA season.
The muscular Sutton needs no introduction to PBA fans, having played under Pumaren in the 2014 Governors Cup where he averaged 26.0 points, 15.4 rebounds, 3.40 assists and 2.40 steals for the Express.
Pumaren expects Sutton to provide the much-needed inside presence against a Ginebra side that is eager to bounce back after getting swept in the quarterfinals by eventual champion Rain or Shine in the Commissioner’s Cup.
Other than Sutton, PBA fans are also eager to see Romeo in action since his FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament stint with Gilas Pilipinas last week.
The 5-foot-10 Romeo managed to hold his own against Tony Parker for a while during his backcourt duel with France’s superstar playmaker. But Gilas failed to sustain its fiery start against Parker and Co., succumbing to a 93-84 decision.
The Filipinos then kissed their Olympic hopes goodbye after bowing to the New Zealand Tall Blacks, 89-80.
Pumaren said he is not rushing Romeo to contribute right away in the new system they are employing, knowing that the reigning PBA Most Improved Player is still in a “getting-to-know-you stage”.
“He’s (Romeo) okay, still adjusting though but again, he’s got a high basketball IQ so I know he can easily adapt,” said Pumaren. – By Richard Dy
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