PBA Governors’ Cup Preview: Teams With Plenty To Prove

The 2022-23 PBA Governors’ Cup is just around the corner. Let’s start the festivities with a preview of four teams that might find it extra difficult to rack up the wins this conference.

pba governors' cup
Original photos via PBA Images

Just one week after Barangay Ginebra rolled past the Bay Area Dragons to claim the Commissioner’s Cup crown, the PBA will again open its gates for the start of the import-laden Governors’ Cup. Let’s take a look at the potential that each team packs in the upcoming conference, starting with the ones that are raring to get out of the cellar.

Rain or Shine Elasto Painters

Team Stats Last Conference

Offensive Rating Defensive Rating Result
102.3 (11th)
106.4 (6th)
Eliminated in Quarterfinals

Yeng Guiao’s return to the Rain or Shine camp was not a story plucked from a fairy tale book. They barely made it to the playoffs and were handed a beating by Bay Area in the quarterfinals. Prior to last conference, there was hope that Guiao could help drive away the offensive woes that the Elasto Painters had in the last few years. But without a consistent go-to scorer on their roster, Rain or Shine’s offense definitely hit a rough patch.

This is why Michael Qualls should be a welcome sight for Rain or Shine fans. During his first PBA tour with the NorthPort Batang Pier, Qualls averaged 32.1 points, albeit a lowly 29% shooting from three.  But there’s reason to believe that the 28-year-old swingman is working on his long-range marksmanship. In his last two international stints, Qualls has averaged a combined 34.7% clip (6.3 3PA) from beyond the arc. It’s not much progress, but if Qualls could bring it up to at least 36% this conference, then it would do wonders for Rain or Shine.

NLEX Road Warriors

Team Stats Last Conference

Offensive Rating Defensive Rating Result
103.5 (9th)
109.6 (12th)
Finished 9th

Despite having one of the better imports in Earl Clark last conference, the Road Warriors still failed to make the playoffs. Defense was a big problem for NLEX, as they allowed 107.8 points, the second-worst mark during the Commissioner’s Cup.

They gave up a decent interior defender in Justin Chua in a recent three-team trade, but they did get Sean Anthony and Jake Pascual. Anthony, in particular, is a solid defender who could help cover multiple bases for them. Without Chua down low, the responsibility of manning the paint goes to Brandon Rosser, who averaged 1.5 blocks last conference, showing a glimpse of his defensive potential.

Getting the services of former NBA player Jonathon Simmons is a great pick-up. Kevin Alas and Don Trollano should again be reliable cogs on offense, but it’s still on the defensive end that the Road Warriors will be tested this conference.

Blackwater Bossing

Team Stats Last Conference

Offensive Rating Defensive Rating Result
97.2 (12th)
106.7 (8th)
Finished 12th

Led by Baser Amer and an all-around import in Cameron Krutwig, Blackwater showed significant progress as a team last conference. They did run out of steam at the latter part of their campaign, but they carry some momentum heading towards the Governors’ Cup. 

Blackwater will be bannered by a familiar face in Shawn Glover, who displayed his scoring prowess in his first go-around with the team during the 2021-22 Governors’ Cup. He’ll be re-joining a more balanced Blackwater squad, so there’s hope that they could rack up more wins this time around.

One player to keep track of in this team is Troy Rosario. The former Gilas Pilipinas mainstay had his debut campaign with Blackwater last conference, but his three-point shooting was a low point, hitting only 22.6% (6.2 3PA) from deep. There’s a lot that Rosario brings, especially on defense, but Blackwater needs him to also be more efficient with his shooting.

Terrafirma Dyip

Team Stats Last Conference

Offensive Rating Defensive Rating Result
95.7 (13th)
115.7 (13th)
Finished 13th

After another abysmal campaign that saw them rank dead last in both offensive rating and defensive rating, there’s not much to expect from Terrafirma this conference. Save for the trade that saw them ship Joshua Munzon and get Kevin Ferrer in return, Terrafirma mostly just brought back the roster they had in their previous campaign.  Re-signing lead guard Juami Tiongson is great for the organization, but can they ever build a good supporting cast around their star player?

Ferrer does provide better shooting and spacing as compared to Munzon, and new import Jordan Williams should also help out on offense. But their defense, with their lack of length on the wing and on the interior, will still struggle.  

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