MERALCO seeks to sustain its surge and is bracing for a major roadblock in Alaska as the Bolts and Aces press their bid for prime quarterfinal spots in the PBA Governors’ Cup on Tuesday at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.
The Aces and Bolts are running third and fourth respectively, and are two of only four teams with records above .500.
And a victory in the matchup that tips off at 4:15 p.m. will strengthen the chances of clinching one of the top four slots, and a twice-to-beat advantage, in the first round of the playoffs.
The Bolts have been on a tear as of late, coming off two blowout victories, an 87-72 decision against Blackwater and a statement 119-85 rout of sister team Talk ‘N Text last Tuesday.
But nothing is going to be easy for Meralco this time as the men in orange are taking on an Aces side that’s also been clicking on all cylinders, evidenced by a 101-63 demolition of Kia last Friday.
“We will have to continue to display energy and hustle versus the speed and quickness of the Alaska team for us to come out on top,” Bolts coach Norman Black said.
The multi-titled American tactician, particularly, will have to figure out how his wards can get out of the Aces’ trademark suffocating full-court defense to get into their transition game.
“Our ability to break their defensive pressure and get into our offense smoothly will be the main key,” said Black, who is relying heavily on prolific import Andre Emmett as well as locals Jared Dillinger and Gary David.
Sean Anthony, counted on mainly for his defense, has also recently provided an offensive boost, contributing a season-high 24 points on 10-of-18 shooting against the Tropang Texters.
The Aces, on the other hand, have been taking care of opponents behind a collective effort led by import Travis Romeo, playmakers Jayvee Casio, Chris Banchero, and RJ Jazul, wingmen Dondon Hontiveros and Cyrus Baguio, and hardworking big men Calvin Abueva and Vic Manuel.
Together, they handed the Carnival the worst loss in their expansion team’s young history.
And their effort all starts in practice.
“One of the things I really appreciate about this team is that they really work hard every day,” Aces coach Alex Compton said.