The Air21 Express and the sputtering Barangay Ginebra Kings parade their new recruits when they play separate foes today in the 38th PBA Philippine Cup at the Cuneta Astrodome.
Veteran point guard and former Gin King Mike Cortez debuts with the Express, who will take on the Barako Bull Energy Cola in the first game. The Kings will see how former Express Yousef Taha fares with the crowd favorites as they play the Globalport Batang Pier in the nightcap.
Both players were traded in a deal that aimed at improving both the Express and the Gin Kings’ standing s.
Taha will reinforce the frontline of the guardheavy roster of the Kings, who have lost their last five games after posting two straight wins to start the conference.
Cortez played limited minutes with the Kings but he is expected to flourish in the Express, where he be reunited with former collegiate head coach Franz Pumaren.
Just like Taha, Cortez is also a welcome addition for Air21 since the team mainly relies on veteran playmaker Wynnie Arboleda in running the the team’s offense.
The Express are looking to get a good follow- up of their stirring 97- 76 trashing of the Petron Blaze Boosters last Nov. 2.
Air21 and Ginebra are tied for the seventh and eighth spots with similar 2- 5 ( win- loss) records./ Calvin Cordova, Editorial Assistant