3 p.m. — Terrafirma vs Bay Area
5:45 p.m. — San Miguel vs Converge
Focus will be on powerhouse San Miguel Beer as it parades a new import who is tipped to fill the huge void created by the absence of June Mar Fajardo in the Philippine Basketball Association Commissioner’s Cup on Friday at the Philsports Arena in Pasig City.
The Beermen will test journeyman Devon Scott when they face dangerous Converge at 5:45 p.m. following the collision between Terrafirma and visiting team Bay Area in the opening salvo at 3 p.m.
Listed at 6-foot-9, Scott is facing a massive challenge as he replaces Diamond Stone while plugging the hole in the middle created by the absence of Fajardo, the six-time PBA Most Valuable Player, who underwent a medical procedure to treat his injured throat.
Scott doesn’t have any National Basketball Association experience, but he is very well-traveled after plying his trades in various leagues in Mexico, Dominican Republic, Italy, South Korea, Israel, Brazil, Argentina, New Zealand, and Canada.
San Miguel team manager Gee Abanilla told Daily Tribune that the reason for the import change has nothing to do with the skill set of Stone, but more on their immediate need after they lost their inside presence due to the injury of the 6-foot-10 Fajardo.
Stone, who only ended up with a forgettable 11 points in their 87-113 loss to Bay Area, is more of a stretch four and complements the game of Fajardo.
With the seven-time champion being sidelined for four to six weeks, bringing in a more versatile player like Scott gives the Beermen a different dimension as they try to avoid losing back-to-back games.
Scott will be immediately put to test against one of the steadiest reinforcements in the tournament so far in NBA veteran Quincy Miller.
Miller is coming off another solid game in which he displayed his brilliant all-around game with 29 points, 16 rebounds, five assists, five steals, and three blocks to power the FiberXers to a 106-99 win over Meralco over the weekend.
Meanwhile, Bay Area shoots for its sixth win in seven games and wants to put more pressure on Terrafirma, which is staring at a 21-game losing skid.
The Dragons battle a Dyip team that couldn’t get over the hump and continuously encounter bumps on the road.
For the visiting Dragons, the win-loss record which put them in second place behind unbeaten Magnolia is hardly a concern as they are more focused on getting better at playing together.
Import Andrew Nicholson appeared to be much settled as Dragons’ reinforcement after posting a dominant show in their previous game with 39 points, including five three-point shots, to go along with 12 rebounds.
“For us, it’s getting Andrew more integrated and for the past week, we were able to work on that,” Bay Area coach Brian Goorjian said following their victory over the Beermen.
“As we move along, we want to improve more playing together as a team and for us, that’s more important.”
The Dragons will be taking on a Dyip team in search of an answer to finally end the burden they have been carrying for three straight conferences.
Terrafirma had a winless campaign in the Philippine Cup and had yet to pick up a victory in the ongoing import-laced tournament.
What’s even worse is that the Dyip are now holding the second longest losing skid in PBA history with 21 behind the 29 posted by Blackwater last season.