COLUMBIAN coach Johnedel Cardel is flu-stricken, but he would not let that keep him from continuing to oversee his team's practices.
Not with a very important match with an equally determined Blackwater crew up Friday in the PBA Governors' Cup at the Mall of Asia Arena.
A win by the Dyip would jack their record to 3-2 and solidify their hold on sixth-running spot, a position the Elite want to wrest should they notch a second straight victory.
"Our aim is maka-back-to-back para tumaas ang standing namin at gumanda spot," said Backwater coach Aris Dimaunahan, whose team is coming off a 107-98 conquest of NorthPort last Saturday that tied it at eighth with Barangay Ginebra.
Cardel is of the same mind.
"Kailangang manalo kami bukas (Friday). Importante sa amin iyon," said Cardel, who was already feeling under the weather when Columbian dropped a 120-125 decision to TNT also last Saturday.
"Kapag nanalo bukas, medyo mas lalaki ang chance namin to make it to quarterfinals kaya sabi ko kailangang kunin namin bukas," Cardel added.
Even though Columbian must make do without the injured Eric Camson,
Glenn Khobuntin and JayR Reyes, Cardel remains upbeat.
"Kaya namang manalo," said Cardel. "Ang goal namin is to make it to the quarterfinals and nakikita ko naman sa kanila 'yung determinasyon na pumasok kami."
That fact is not lost on Dimaunahan, who saw how Columbian put up a gallant stand against TNT.
"Paangat laro nila kaya kaiangan i-match man lang namin intensity nila at saka 'yung gigil sa laro," said Dimaunahan.
"Kasi iba talaga sila ngayon, bawa't possession ipinaglalaban nila, eh. So kailangan namin na matapatan o mahigitan iyon para magkaroon kami ng advantage. Sana kagaya last game (against NorthPort) na kami nag-dictate ng laro right from the start hanggang sa dulo."
In the TNT game, Columbian gave up 66 first half points. Prior to that, the Dyip beat NorthPort 114-108, but only after fighting back from a 12-point deficit due to a 60-point first half by the Batang Pier.
That is one problem Cardel has tried to address.
"Iyung two games na natalo kami masyadong binibigyan namin sila sa first half ng malaking puntos. Kaya kailangan first half dictate na naming depensa para ma-discourage sila," said Cardel.
One interesting sidelight of the game is the rematch between rookie sensations Bobby Ray Parks of Blackwater and CJ Perez of Columbian.
In their initial matchup last May 26, Parks had the last laugh with 23 points, five rebounds and as many assists to Perez's 17 points and seven boards as the Elite won 118-110.
Currently, Parks is averaging 29.3 points, 3.3 rebounds and as many dimes while Perez has his own stats line of 24.75 points, 10.25 rebounds, 3.5 assists and 2.25 steals an outing. (NC)