MANILA, Philippines – In their first game under coach Jeff Cariaso, Barangay Ginebra will shoot it out with Globalport, as Commissioner’s Cup surprise team Air21 returns into action against Rain or Shine at the Smart Araneta Coliseum tonight; in Day Two of the PBA PLDT Home Telpad Commissioner’s Cup.
The Kings and the Express were the two teams that barely made the Commissioner’s Cup playoffs, with the Kings having been bested in one game by the Talk n Text Tropang Texters, while Express took a backseat to San Mig Coffee in a deciding Game Five in the semifinals.
The Kings, who performed poorly under former coach Juno Sauler, will now have to prove that they can adapt to the triangle offense that Cariaso has introduced to a team primarily known for its gung-ho game.
Cariaso, however, is confident that the Kings and fresh import Zaccheus Mason would take well to the new system.
“He’s a high-energy guy, a guy who’ll be everywhere. His activity level is very high. A guy who won’t demand the ball but when we need him, he can,” said Cariaso of Mason, a former University of Tennessee-Chattanooga standout.
Express, on the other hand, will be playing with new import Domique Sutton, who arrived on Thursday.
“Hopefully, he can adjust to our system and the PBA brand of game come game time,” said Air21 coach Franz Pumaren, in reference to Sutton, a 6-foot-5 forward who played his first three years of collegiate eligibility with Kansas State U before transferring to North Carolina Central U.
The Express hope, as well, hope to ride the momentum of their breakthrough fourth-place showing in the last tourney.