NorthPort shoots for its fourth straight win against a well-rested Blackwater side in the opening game of the Philippine Basketball Association Commissioner’s Cup Saturday at the Cuneta Astrodome in Pasay City.
Batang Pier (6-1) are coming off an amazing come-from-behind 107-105 overtime win over Rain or Shine and hope to continue the momentum in their 4:30 encounter against the Elite (5-2), who are parading a new import in Jameel McKay.
In the nightcap at 7 p.m., Magnolia (2-2) tries to stretch its winning streak to three games against Phoenix (2-3).
NorthPort played with just eight players against the Elasto Painters following the trade of Stanley Pringle to Ginebra for Kevin Ferrer, Jervy Cruz and Sol Mercado.
The three new acquisitions are expected to suit up for Saturday’s match as Batang Pier try to move closer for the twice-to-beat incentive in the next round.
“We are excited to have these new players. I’m very positive they will help us in our campaign,” said NorthPort head coach Pido Jarencio.
“They know they are here to work. Our goal every game is to win.”
They face Blackwater, which is coming off a 106-127 loss to San Miguel as the wards of interim coach Aris Dimaunahan played minus import Alex Stepheson, who went back to the United States due to stomach illness.
McKay, who played for the Fuel Masters in the same tournament two seasons ago, arrived Friday and his presence is a much-needed boost for the Elite.
Meanwhile, after a 0-2 start, the Hotshots won their next two assignments to stay on track for a spot in the next round.
The team of head coach Chito Victolero is coming off a 110-103 victory over Columbian Dyip.
“Slowly, we’re getting our rhythm. Hopefully, we gain momentum when we face tougher teams,” said Victolero.
Phoenix pulled off a 78-76 squeaker over Alaska to get back on track as head coach Louie Alas returned from a two-game suspension.
New import Richard Howell tallied 24 points and 29 rebounds for the Fuel Masters, who will continue to miss the service of Calvin Abueva. Abueva is currently serving an indefinite suspension handed by the league.