BARAKO Bull shoots for a fourth straight win and a firm grip of the solo lead when it clashes with dangerous Meralco as action in the PBA Governors Cup shifts back at the Smart Araneta Coliseum on Sunday.
The Energy will try to sustain their hot start going into the 3 p.m. match after beating teams such as NLEX (101-96), Blackwater (105-90), and Talk ‘N Text (100-87).
Coach Koy Banal is well aware that being the only unbeaten team in the season-ending tournament, Barako Bull now carries a big target on its chest.
“Dahil 3-0 kami, like itong Meralco, that’s their plan also na talunin kami, that’s why we’ve got to be ready,” stressed Banal.
“It all depends on us on how we will put the effort and have the mindset and determination this Sunday.”
Banal said part of the Energy’s plan is to make maximize 7-foot-2 import Liam McMorrow’s edge as he has been an effective inside presence for the team by averaging 27.3 points and 21.6 rebounds.
“Nobody can stop Liam one-on-one, but for sure, they (Bolts) will come up with a game plan so I was telling the guys (local players), if you are open, take the shot,” he added.
JC Intal (18.3 ppg), Dylan Ababou (12.0) and Joseph Yeo (7.6). are expected to provide the scoring support for the former Tennesse Tech center.
On the other hand, Meralco coach Norman Black said the Bolts cannot afford Barako Bull to dominate the boards the way it did during their 13-point victory over the Tropang Texters last week.
“We have to do a better job as far as controlling the rebounds, especially since their (Energy) import is 7-2,” said Black, whose trade with GlobalPort and NLEX that would bring big man Kelly Nabong to the team remains pending at the Commissioner's Office.
For the moment, veteran Reynel Hugnatan, Danny Ildefonso and energizer bunny Cliff Hodge are expected to put the body against McMorrow.
“He’s (McMorrow) a talented player and that will be a challenge for us so we’ll do the best we can,” said Black
Veteran Fil-Am Jared Dillinger is expected to play his first game since sustaining a sprained left knee last March during the Bolts’ quarterfinal series against NLEX in the Commissioner’s Cup.