FINALS: Powerade Tigers 1 - 3 Talk N Text Tropang Texters
Published on November 8, 2011

NEW franchise may be the only team yet to post a victory midway through the elimination round of the 2011-12 PBA Philippine Cup but Petron Blaze knows it can’t afford to take it easy against the Clickers. 

 After all, some coaches say it’s just a matter of time before clicks and pulls off its first win. The Clickers almost did that against Petron’s sister team, Barangay Ginebra, which escaped with a 94-90 overtime win.

And so, Petron Blaze is expected to come out ready to repeat over in their return engagement at 5:15 pm Wednesday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum in Quezon City. 

 This despite the fact that the Boosters continue to miss several key players down with injuries. They started the season minus big men Jay Washington and Rabeh Al-Hussaini. 

Dondon Hontiveros, who returned to the Petron fold after a brief stint with Air21 (now Barako Bull), suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament two games into the season and is out for at least six months. Last Saturday, rookie Chris Lutz, the third pick in the recent draft, was unable to play due to an injury. 

 Fortunately, Joseph Yeo picked a good time to shine and rattled off 27 points, eight rebounds, four assists and a steal in 42 minutes to lead Petron Blaze to an 86-80 win over Alaska before an overflow crowd at the Hoops Dome in Lapu-lapu ity, Cebu. As a result, he was named Accel-PBA Press Corps Player of the Week. 

 The victory snapped a three-game losing skid by the Boosters who prior to the match absorbed setbacks from Meralco (80-70), Talk N Text (96-86) and Powerade (108-94). Before those losses, Patron had beaten, 98-87, in their first meeting last October 16. Coach Ato Agustin is hoping that Yeo would continue dishing off those numbers even if Lutz returns to action. 

Agustin’s main men are Arwind Santos, Alex Cabagnot, Dennis Miranda and two-time Most Valuable Player Danny Ildefonso. 

 After almost tasting heaven aganst the Kings were it not for four missed free throws - two each from sophomores Elmer Espiritu and RJ Jazul, most observers felt that will continue to improve and probably upend its next opponent. 

 That did not happen as the Clickers were beaten by B-Meg, 76-65, on November 2. 

Two days later, league-leader Rain or Shine routed Shopinas, 96-75, notwithstanding Elasto Painters coach Yeng Guiao being thrown out late in the second quarter. It was the seventh straight loss for the Clickers. 

But they are not losing heart as coach Franz Pumaren knows it only takes one win to start the ball rolling for them. And that one victory might come Wednesday night. 

Pumaren is hoping Ren-ren Ritualo regains his old shooting touch. Aside from Ritualo, others expected to deliver are Paolo Hubalde and Jojo Duncil, who will be playing against their former team which they had helped to win the recent Governors Cup crown. (BP)


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