LONG the whipping boys in the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA), the Columbian Dyip are experiencing some form of sea change in the ongoing Commissioner’s Cup, something they hope they get to sustain as the midseason tournament moves forward.
Sporting a 2-1 record early in the conference, Columbian is eyeing a third victory in four matches when it takes on the Alaska Aces in the 4:30 p.m. action today at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Playing in the 7 p.m. main game, meanwhile, are the Meralco Bolts against the NLEX Road Warriors.
The Dyip, formerly Kia Picanto, are riding a newfound commitment to change their attitude on how they approach their campaign, and so far it has been doing wonders.
“It’s not the change in personnel. It’s the change of attitude. And I will talk to the guys to guard themselves from slipping back to the team’s old attitude,” said Columbian coach Ricky Dandan, whose wards finished last in the previous PBA tournament, Philippine Cup.
The latest of Columbian’s victories came at the expense of the NLEX Road Warriors on April 28, where they ran away with a 123-103 victory.
The local crew once again stepped up for the Dyip in said game, with Reden Celda scoring 26 points and Jerramy King adding 23.
Rashawn McCarthy had a near triple-double of 13 points, 12 assists and nine rebounds while import CJ Aiken had a double-double of 28 points and 10 rebounds.
“We just want to make a better showing. We have new guys who are stepping up and everybody’s stepping up. Coach is pushing us to work hard and it’s paying off,” said Mr. McCarthy after the win.
Interestingly, despite their winning record so far, the Dyip have decided to change import Aiken.
Columbian will parade new reinforcement John Bailey Fields III against NLEX to give, management said, Mr. Aiken a chance to attend to some personal stuff.
Mr. Fields, 30, is coming off a stint in the pro league in Greece.
Looking to push their campaign forward, meanwhile, are the Aces, who barged into the win column last time around after being tripped in their tournament debut.
Alaska (1-1) used a strong start and a solid finish to stave off a spirited challenge midway in the contest by the Blackwater Elite to earn the 93-74 victory in its previous game, its first win in the Commissioner’s Cup.
Forward Vic Manuel led the Aces in the win with 27 points while import Antonio Campbell had 23 points and 19 rebounds.
“Coach has always been saying that we must translate what we do in practice and it showed tonight,” said Mr. Manuel, named player of the game, after their victory.
Meanwhile in the second game, the Bolts and Road Warriors, two teams coming off losses, go for the bounce-back win.
Meralco (1-1) narrowly lost to GlobalPort Batang Pier, 86-85, on April 27 to fall back after a winning in its debut in the tournament while NLEX (0-2) has had a rough start so far, losing anew just last Wednesday against the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters, 98-97. — Michael Angelo S. Murillo