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    Black hopes Almazan presence, Slaughter absence will benefit Bolts vs Ginebra

    Nov 16, 2020
    PHOTO: PBA Images

    MERALCO coach Norman Black hopes that absence of Greg Slaughter will spell a difference to the chances of the Bolts to finally win against Barangay Ginebra in a playoff series.

    It has been well-documented that the Bolts have never won against the Kings in the three championship showdowns they’ve been involved in during the 2016, 2017, and 2019 Governors’ Cup.

    Black said the size of Barangay Ginebra is one of the reasons why Meralco hasn’t defeated the Kings in those occasions with Slaughter and Japeth Aguilar in the middle.

    Even with Raymond Almazan joining the team last year, the Bolts were unable to utilize their new big man after sustaining an injury in the middle of the finals series.

    But with Almazan healthy and Slaughter not part of the team, Black hopes it will give the Bolts a better chance of winning in the best-of-five series starting on Wednesday.

    “One thing we’ve never really had against them is we’ve never really had much size and Raymond gives us a little bit of size,” said Black. “One of the biggest problems we always have with Ginebra is Greg Slaughter and of course Japeth Aguilar.”

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    Black said Almazan gives Meralco someone who they hope could contain Aguilar, who is having a stellar bubble campaign following a slow start to the conference.

    “Japeth has been playing great basketball so luckily we have a guy that we can match up with him most of the time which will probably give us a better chance of winning games,” said Black.

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      But Black made it clear Meralco will still have a difficult time, man-for-man, to defeat Barangay Ginebra in this semifinal tiff even with the presence of Almazan due to a number of reasons that include Ginebra coach Tim Cone and Stanley Pringle

      “Looking at Ginebra, they are well-coached,” Black said. “They have the all-time winningest coach. They probably have the best player in the league in Stanley Pringle. I know some other guys will say Matthew Wright but for me, Stanley Pringle is probably one of the top three players in the league.

      The list goes on.

      “And then you have a problem of Scottie Thompson which brings you versatility and then the man in the middle, si Japeth Aguilar. Not to mention that they are the best when it comes to moving the basketball and playing against a team,” said Black.

      The Meralco coach will also have to remind the players not to celebrate too soon especially with the Bolts’ landmark series win over San Miguel that dethroned the five-time champions in the Philippine Cup.

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      “We have to regroup because the guys are really, really happy for making it to the semis but the battle is only half won,” he added.
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      PHOTO: PBA Images
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