WHAT started out as a conference of promise is slowly turning into a nightmare of old for GlobalPort.
It is then quite understandable why the Batang Pier come armed with an extra sense of urgency going into Friday’s game against streaking Rain or Shine in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
A team insider maintained GlobalPort is bringing in a substitute for import Justin Williams, but whether the replacement could arrive in time for the game against the Elasto Painters is the big question.
“They (Batang Pier officials) are still finalizing negotiations,” said the usually reliable source Thursday.
Head coach Junel Baculi is not one to dwell too much on whether he will have Williams or a new reinforcement in his arsenal. He already has a lot on his mind.
Rain or Shine is currently on a four-game roll and another win pushes it into solo second-running spot.
GlobalPort is currently on a three-game slide after winning two of its first three. That prompted some skeptics to predict the team is headed for another dismal stint like in its maiden Philippine Cup campaign, when it won only one of 14 games.
Baculi is fully aware of such dire projections and knows precisely what his team must do. “It is urgent that we pick up our game at this juncture,” he said.
“(Rain or Shine) is a tough team and we must disrupt their offensive flow if we are to score a ‘W.’ Our import should be more aggressive on offense. He must assert his game more to tow the locals.”
Williams has been averaging conference-highs of 20.6 rebounds and 4.0 blocks per game, but his 16.6 ppg is simply not enough to support or draw the defense away from the likes of Gary David, Sol Mercado and Japeth Aguilar.
In an 84-91 loss to San Mig Coffee last Saturday, Williams notched only 11 points and was scoreless in the crucial fourth quarter.
The numbers of Rain or Shine import Bruno Sundov, 18.6 and 11 rebounds, are not impressive either and the 7-2 Croatian even fouled out in the E-Painters’ last two games.
The big difference is, Rain or Shine’s locals have stepped up. They are even set to be further beefed up by the return of top gunner Jeff Chan, who sat out the their last four games due to a fractured left thumb the southpaw suffered in their first outing. (NC)