THE PETRON BLAZE BOOSTERS 2011-12 PREVIEW
FIVE CONFERENCES AGO:
2009-10 PHILIPPINE CUP – SEMIFINALS
2010 FIESTA CUP – RUNNER-UP
2010-11 PHILIPPINE CUP – RUNNER-UP
2011 COMMISSIONER’S CUP – ELIMINATED
2011 GOVERNOR’S CUP – CHAMPION
Petron capped an interesting season by playing spoiler to Talk N Text’s grand slam hopes. For non-TNT fans, that was cool. Ato Agustin should tell the SMC bigwigs to retire his number because of the magic trick he managed to concoct.
Anyway, Agustin and the Boosters are back with new faces and the same problems he had in the Governor’s Cup.
His injured superstars!
Yes with Mythical Ten Jay Washington and Rookie of the Year Rabeh Al-Hussaini in sickbay, the team’s frontline is certainly weak. This is despite the acquisition of Carlo Sharma, the resurgence of Danny Ildefonso’s awesomeness, and of course the one-man show that is Arwind Santos in the frontcourt.
However, the Blaze Boosters have improved their shooting and slashing core with the re-claiming of Dondon Hontiveros and drafting of third pick overall Chris Lutz. Lutz’ offense remains MIA but his defensive is definitely shackling while Hontiveros is just what the doctor ordered for the Boosters to fill in the void left by Barako Bull/Shopinas loans Paolo Hubalde and Jojo Duncil. Well, of course bringing in Hontiveros and Lutz will strengthen their offense but factoring in last year’s third pick Rey Guevarra, Agustin’s spawn Marc, and the return of loaned to own Lordy Tugade, offense will certainly not be an issue for Petron.
Meanwhile, Alex Cabagnot is now the key quarterback of Petron. He was last year, but now he is definitely the “director” of the team’s future following Olsen Racela’s retirement. Racela has been pondering retirement for so long now and because with what he saw in Cabagnot, he can rest and concentrate in coaching now.
Other players that should definitely come up great this season are former Sta. Lucia Realtors Joseph Yeo and Denok Miranda. They will still look for other players to furnish their problems and Norman Gonzales looms as a favorite.
Hopefully last year’s first overall pick Nonoy Baclao will get the chance to channel his inner Dikembe Mutombo and break out from a weak rookie campaign.
OUTLOOK: I am going to rank them low because of
and Al-Hussaini’s injuries. I know they won a championship without these guys but I am still unimpressed with the way they toughened their frontcourt. Like I said, Baclao is bound for a breakout season and they have shored up their offense. Washington
I do hope the squad can be healthy because when the two comes in, expect Petron to put on a show.
PHILIPPINE CUP RANK: FOURTH