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PBA: Gilas try to stay perfect vs short-handed Llamados


Pilipinas-Smart Gilas seeks its sixth straight win to land the first playoff berth in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup Wednesday at the Araneta Coliseum.

And it couldn’t have come at a perfect time, as the Nationals face a Derby Ace Llamados side playing minus their best player in the 5 p.m. encounter.

The Llamados will miss the services of two-time Most Valuable Player James Yap for the second straight time, as the star shooting guard from University of the East continues to nurse a calf injury.

With Yap hurting, Derby Ace had to do without his vaunted outside shooting and lost to Meralco in its last outing, 89-86, in a game that saw the Llamados blow a huge 10-point lead in the final four minutes.

"Masakit na talo sa amin 'yun," admitted Derby Ace coach Jorge Gallent. "We only played good for 44 minutes and then nag-relax na. I just hope we can play aggressive basketball for the whole 48 minutes."

But the Llamados may just have a hard time doing what their coaches want. The team is decimated by injuries. Joining Yap on the injured list are back-up guard Jonas Villanueva (sprained ankle), and big men Jondan Salvador (knee), Don Allado (heel), and Raffi Reavis (foot).

The personnel woes definitely have a lot to do with Derby Aces' 2-4 record for a tie at sixth place.

And now the Llamados have to try to put it all together against the hottest team in the league.

The Nationals remained as the only undefeated team in the import-laden conference, their winning streak now at five games with their win against Rain or Shine, 99-94, last week.

JV Casio finished with a personal conference-best 29-points on 5-of-7 shooting from the three-point region, while Marcus Douthit had another double-double of 23 points and 18 rebounds.

Still, coach Rajko Toroman is not counting the Llamados out.

"Maybe they will be under pressure because they have to win. But they are a very strong team. They have talented and skilled outside players and strong inside players. It will be a difficult game for us but we will do everything to win," Toroman said.

Powerade and Meralco, two teams breathing down Derby Ace's neck, see action in the main game at 7:30 p.m.

The Tigers jumped back into contention for a playoff berth after rallying from a 14-point deficit to nip the struggling San Miguel Beermen, 99-91.

"We all understand the significance of this game. We are going to realize how strong our team character has become up to this point," Powerade coach Bo Perasol said.

Gary David exploded for 35 points in that huge Powerade win, making him the player who's definitely under the radar of Bolts coach Ryan Gregorio.

"David is a marked man," Gregorio said. "His production is even better than that of some imports. He must be contained at all cost."

The Bolts finally barged into the win column with that come-from-behind victory over Derby Ace courtesy of the hot shooting hands of Champ Oguchi in the fourth quarter.

And just like the last time, Gregorio said his team is taking its game against Powerade with a sense of urgency.

"Another do-or-die game for us," he said. "We can't afford to blink, we cannot relax and we must believe that it (advancing to the playoffs) an still be done despite our slow start. I am optimistic because we continue to show progress and our team unity is also getting tighter." - KY, RCJ, GMA News


Dave Josef said...

so proud of gilas pilipinas! they did it to the fiba!! so nice silver

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