MERALCO tries to inch closer to a playoff berth and sustain its hot start when it collides with a Globalport team parading a new import in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup on Sunday at the Mall of Asia Arena.
Game time is at 3 p.m.
The Bolts are off to a franchise-best 4-0 start under coach Norman Black, who is in his second conference with the five-year-old franchise. They are currently alone on top after defending champion Purefoods lost to Rain or Shine in Dipolog City on Saturday.
But Black admitted the Bolts are clueless on the Batang Pier’s new import Calvin Warner, who will replace CJ Leslie.
“There is a lot of unknowns going up against Globalport because they have a new import, who we have yet to see,” admitted Black.
“It is important that we are quick in making adjustments during the game.”
Meralco is coming off a come-from-behind 92-87 win against Rain or Shine behind a strong fourth quarter run anchored by import Josh Davis.
The 6-foot-7 Davis, averages 3.7 steals and 1.7 blocks, while leading the team in scoring (20.7 points) and rebounds (18.7).
Meantime, Globalport coach Eric Gonzales recognizes the Batang Pier are going up against a new and improved Meralco side under Black.
“Very disciplined at mature na itong Meralco,” noted Gonzales, just in his second conference as coach since taking over from Pido Jarencio late in the Philippine Cup eliminations.
The Globalport rookie mentor said the team has to match up with Meralco’s energy on both ends of the floor in order to keep the game close, and, hopefully, make a run in the endgame.
“Di naman tsamba yung 4-0 start nila (Bolts), kaya ang question na lang diyan is energy namin. We hope ma-sustain namin yan for 48 minutes,” he added.
Warner, the shortest import in the tournament who stands at a shade below 6-foot-5, is a veteran international player, who played in various pro leagues in the Middle East.
Gonzales said the upside is Warner plays big for his size, is a strong post-up player, and can rebound well.
“Kailangan namin talaga yung big maglaro. Malakas ang katawan niya, parang bull din,” observed Gonzales.
Warner is a one-time Center of the Year in Iran’s Super League and is coming off a stint with the ASU Sports Club in Jordan’s Premiere basketball league.