A REFRESHED Meralco side tries to snap a two-game skid and keep its playoff chances alive when it goes up against Barako Bull in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup on Friday at the Mall of Asia Arena.
Before the All-Star break, the Bolts suffered a 78-88 defeat to the Barangay Ginebra Kings, spoiling the debut of Darnell Jackson, who finished with 25 points and 18 rebounds.
Coach Ryan Gregorio said the week off gave them enough time to regroup and plot their move as they try to come out strong in their last two games in the eliminations.
“We are finally playing with a complete roster because (Jared) Dillinger is healthy and (John) Wilson has fully recovered (from flu),” said Gregorio, heading into the team’s game at 5:45 p.m. against Barako Bull.
“It is very important that we have the full roster if we wish to go deep into the playoffs,” he added.
Gregorio intends to maximize the presence of the 6-foot-7 Jackson, who can dominate the paint, a complete contrast to Meralco’s previous reinforcement Brian Butch.
Barako Bull, meanwhile, relies a lot from its outside shooters, which should be a challenge for Meralco.
The Energy are averaging 10 three-point conversions per game this conference, with import Joshua Dollard, Mick Pennisi and Ronjay Buenafe expected to provide the firepower from the outside once more.
Barako Bull is still in the hunt for the playoffs despite dropping a 71-78 decision to defending champion Alaska last week.
But the game against the Bolts is already a must-win for the Energy, whose best finish is sixth place in the last five conferences.