The Purefoods Star Hotshots (2-0) are enjoying their hottest start since last year’s Commissioner’s Cup after dispatching GlobalPort and Alaska in their first 2 games. Now, they have a chance to extend that streak to three as they will be facing a winless team in the Blackwater Elite (0-2).
Call it growing pains or what not, but the Elite have obviously struggled in their campaign in the PBA so far since their first conference, the Philippine Cup. It looked like they were on their way to a respectable showing here in the Commissioner’s Cup but then an unfortunate thing happened. Their first choice-import in Chris Charles was injured and had to be replaced by Marcus Douthit. So far, Blackwater is in the bottom of the team standings, still without win, after losing its last two games. It’s adjustment period all over again for the Elite. Currently, they are dead last in terms of offense (80.5 ORTG) and below-average (8th with 97.8 DRTG).
To add to their woes, they’ll be facing a streaking Purefoods Star Hotshots in this game. The Elite will have a lot of things to worry about in this match-up as the Hotshots are currently 1st in the league in terms of offense (106.4 ORTG), anchored on 49.1 TS% (3rd in the league). Also, their defense has been solid, ranking 2nd in the league with a DRTG of 88.0. Just by looking at the numbers, it will be a very tough task for Blackwater to pull-off an upset against Purefoods in this game. But the Hotshots must still play with a sense of urgency as a loss against the Elite is still a possibility. Kumbaga, bilog talaga ang bola. Just look at what happened to SMB against KIA yesterday.
One last thing, as Daniel Orton has already arrived in the country and has already practiced with the Hotshots, him playing his first game in the PBA against Blackwater is a possibility. Looking at his highlight plays in the NBA D-League, Orton’s known to be a solid inside operator, and would be a big boost to the Hotshots’ frontline. But right now, with Orton having a swollen hand he injured in China and with Marqus playing well, Coach Tim Cone might opt to go with Blakely for one more game before bringing in Orton. I guess we’ll just have to wait and see. Regardless of their import-choice in this game, I see no problem in Purefoods getting its third win in a row.
Featured Image Credit: Nuki Sabio & Sherwin Vardeleon, SportsDesk.PH; NBA.com (Edited by: MI.NI for HumbleBola)