MERALCO continues to ride Allen Durham as it guns for the solo lead in the PBA Governors’ Cup against TNT Katropa on Saturday at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.
After having eventual Best Import Arinze Onuaku in the Commissioner’s Cup, the Bolts are blessed with another prolific reinforcement in Durham, who has averaged 34 points on 60.5-percent shooting, 18.5 rebounds, 5.5 assists, two steals, and one block in 43.8 minutes in the first two games.
Bolts coach Norman Black has described Durham as a “thoroughbred” after leading them in their first two wins to gain a share of the top spot with Mahindra and San Miguel Beer.
“I think he’ll be solid the entire conference,” Black said of Durham. “Let’s hope and pray he stays healthy. I don’t think there’ll ever be a problem with his attitude because he has a very good attitude.”
“It’s just matter of us being able to utilize his talent and for me to just get the best out of him every game,” he added ahead of the 3 p.m. match against their sister squad.
While the Bolts are settled with the bull-strong 6-foot-5 Durham, the Texters are still feeling out the energetic, yet undersized Mario Little, who had to replace NBA veteran Jason Maxiell, who went over the 6-foot-5 limit.
“Overheight yung import namin (na original choice), but he’s (Little) adequate naman, lumalaban naman siya,” Texters coach Jong Uichico said. “Despite his size, he’s really playing to his strengths and he gives us a different dimension to our game.”
Little contributed 18 points, 11 boards, three assists, and one steal in the Texters’ come-from-behind win over Rain or Shine last Wednesday where Jayson Castro took more of the cudgels and score the game-winner.
“We probably lost in the rebounds, pero syempre double effort lang ang locals if medyo argabyado kami sa rebounding,” Uichico said as the Elasto Painters outrebounded them, 61-49.
The E-Painters seek to bounce back from that heartbreaking loss where they squandered a late 11-point lead as they take the court in the main game at 5:15 p.m. against Phoenix, which is also looking to barge in the win column after two straight losses.