Jonathon Simmons resumes his quest for perfection when NLEX collides with dangerous TNT Tropang Giga in the Philippine Basketball Association Governors’ Cup today at the Philsports Arena.
Game time is at 5:45 p.m. with both the Road Warriors and the Tropang Giga seeking to stay unbeaten in the early stretch of the season-ending conference.
Also looking to remain unbeaten is San Miguel Beer, which will face Blackwater in the 3 p.m. appetizer of this explosive doubleheader.
After a rollercoaster campaign in the Commissioner’s Cup, the Beermen displayed their lethal form as they clobbered Phoenix Super LPG to usher their new era under coach Jorge Gallent.
With six-time Most Valuable Player June Mar Fajardo and CJ Perez at the helm, the Beermen asserted their dominance and ripped the hapless Fuel Masters from start to finish, dealing Jamike Jarin his third straight setback as head coach.
San Miguel was so dominant that it erected a 33-point lead in the second period, 62-29, before closing the half with a massive 29-point cushion, 66-37.
Aside from the convincing victory, the Beermen also discovered a gem of a gunner in Allyn Bulanadi, who provided the spark in his first game with the storied franchise.
Bulanadi, who was part of the special Gilas draft in 2019, emerged as the third-best scorer behind Fajardo and Perez with 16 points, much to the delight of Gallent.
“Allyn’s always been a shooter. When we played against him when he was still with Converge, he was already doing the same things there,” said Gallent, the longtime deputy who replaced Leo Austria as head coach at the start of the conference.
“He’s just doing the same things here. So, I’m very happy with his game as well as the San Miguel Beermen. I just hope he keeps it up.”
Against the Bossing, Bulanadi and the Beermen will definitely be tested as they battle a team that is fresh from a morale-boosting 108-105 victory over the Fuel Masters.
“I challenged the guy to be tougher,” Blackwater coach Ariel Vanguardia said.
“It’s hard to be down 0-2 so we treated the game as if it is a championship game.”
Still, all eyes will be on Simmons and the red-hot Road Warriors squad.
With barely two games left before leaving for China to honor his deal with the Shanxi Loongs, the former National Basketball Association standout vowed to do everything he can to lead the Road Warriors to a perfect 4-0 start.
Simmons fired 32 points in their 124-102 victory over the Bossing before dropping 33 points, eight rebounds and five assists in their 121-112 win over NorthPort.
Now, Simmons gets another chance to shine and help the Road Warriors forge a share of lead with idle Converge in the early stretch of the eliminations.
“That’s the deal. That’s what we agreed on,” said Simmons, who is no stranger to performing on the big stage after seeing action with the San Antonio Spurs, Philadelphia 76ers and Orlando Magic in the National Basketball Association.
Daily Tribune sources said the Road Warriors are looking at two prominent imports who will replace Simmons starting their game against Barangay Ginebra San Miguel on Wednesday next week.
In fact, former NBA campaigner Wayne Selden Jr. already expressed his availability while former PBA reinforcement Manny Harris can also fly in.
NLEX coach Frankie Lim, however, believes that it’s going to be hard to match Simmons’ intensity.
“It seems that he’s not just a good player — but a great player,” Lim said.
“He knows how to play, he knows when to make a shot, he knows when to pass. We’re lucky to have him.”