Former NBA veteran Mario West suits up for Meralco in a crucial game against Alaska in the opener of the PBA Governors’ Cup Sunday at the SMART-Araneta Coliseum.
The Bolts and the Aces, both carding a 1-3 slate, collide at 4:15 p.m. to be followed by the encounter between Barangay Ginebra and Petron Blaze at 6:30 p.m.
Meralco decided to send Champ Oguchi home after a lackluster performance in his last two games capped by 0-of-10 shooting from the behind the arc against B-MEG last Wednesday.
The 27-year old West, who played for the Atlanta Hawks and the New Jersey Nets in the NBA, is coming off a stint in Italy and will try to resurrect the dwindling campaign of the Bolts.
“Change is essential. Our import’s poor performance needed to be addressed. In an import-laden conference, the import is regarded as a savior,” said Gregorio.
“Mario West is expected to lift our sagging spirits and bring us to another level.”
Oguchi averaged just 12.5 points per game in the Bolts’ last two losses that forced Gregorio to give him the pink slip.
West will be pitted against Jason Forte, who has only a solitary win to show for the Aces in four outings. Alaska is also coming off back-to-back losses.
In the main tiff, Petron activated Dondon Hontiveros and will be inserting Jojo Duncil into the roster when the defending champions meet the Kings.
Hontiveros has been out of commission due to an injury while Duncil was acquired by the Boosters in a trade for Wynnie Arboleda with Air21.
Ginebra (2-2) and Petron (3-2) are both coming off disappointing losses. The Kings bowed to league-leader Rain or Shine, 93-90, last Wednesday, while the Boosters were upset by Barako Bull, 111-107, last Friday.
“It’s going to be interesting. Both of us are raring to get back after the last game,” said Ginebra mentor Siot Tanquingcen.
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