SAN Miguel Beermen — PBA MEDIA

Games Today
(Smart Araneta Coliseum)
3 p.m. — Blackwater vs San Miguel Beer
5:45 p.m. — Magnolia vs TNT

INJURY bug bit San Miguel Beer (SMB) ahead of its quest for back-to-back in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup with first-choice import Thomas Robinson bothered by back spasms.

As such, the Beermen brought in Diamond Stone, a former NBA player like Mr. Robinson, as reinforcement as they make their much-awaited debut in the import-flavored tournament against Blackwater (1-2) today at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

The Beermen placed Mr. Robinson, a No. 5 overall pick in the 2012 NBA Draft, on the team’s import injured/reserve list, keeping the option of activating him later in the conference.

Mr. Stone, 25, had a stint with the LA Clippers and last played for Taiwan Beer in the T1 League, where he emerged as the scoring leader with 27.5 points. In 2018, the 6-foot-10 American suited up for Meralco in its FIBA Asia Champions Cup campaign in tandem with Allen Durham.

SMB hits the court at 3 p.m. in its first taste of action since wresting back its old turf in the All-Filipino via a 4-3 finals verdict over TNT a month ago.

The Tropang Giga likewise launch their Commissioner’s Cup campaign in the Wednesday double-header, eyeing a winning start against the joint lead-shooting Magnolia Hotshots (2-0) at 5:45 p.m.

“We’ll do our best to pick up where we left off in the finals,” San Miguel coach Leo Austria, whose charges are looking to also repeat their triumph in the last Commissioner’s Cup staged in 2019, said on CNN Philippines’ Sports Desk.

“The goal is to adjust quickly to the standard of the other teams who are at least two games ahead of us and have longer preparation time.”

The Bossing and their reinforcement Cameron Krutwig have already played three games in the meet and they hope to use their familiarity to try to upset the debuting Beermen. The Bossing come off a 105-102 loss to NLEX.

Meanwhile, TNT unveils its new combo of Gilas Pilipinas naturalization prospect Cameron Oliver, trade acquisitions Calvin Oftana and Raul Soyud and holdovers led by Jayson Castro, RR Pogoy, Mikey Williams and Poy Erram versus the unbeaten Hotshots.

The Tropang Giga tweaked their roster after their runner-up finish last conference, trading with Blackwater and NLEX to get rising star Mr. Oftana and frontline workhorse Mr. Soyud while shipping out regular Troy Rosario and sniper Gab Banal.

It will be a quick test for TNT as the Hotshots are bent on notching a followup to their victories over Terrafirma (100-92) and Converge (109-105) and gaining a share of the lead with Bay Area (3-0). With a win, Serbian import Nick Rakocevic, Paul Lee, Marc Barroca, Ian Sangalang and Calvin Abueva can also give Magnolia a semblance of revenge for TNT’s 4-2 conquest during their Philippine Cup semis duel. — Olmin Leyba