ITS confidence buoyed by an opening-day victory over fan favorite Barangay Ginebra, Meralco guns for the early lead in the Commissioner’s Cup when the Bolts take on KIA Motors on Friday at the Cuneta Astrodome.
The Bolts, who have one of the shortest frontcourts in the league, clash with the Carnival led by man-mountain Peter John Ramos in the 4:15 p.m. match.
Coach Norman Black said they have devised some defensive schemes to try and stop Ramos, the tallest import in the tournament at 7 feet 2 and 3/4 inches.
“We just want to keep the momentum going and build on the win against Ginebra,” said Black.
“Our main concern will be how to contain Ramos and his inside play while not giving up too many threes to their guards.”
Ramos debuted in the PBA with 41 points and 20 rebounds but KIA’s second half rally fell short, bowing to GlobalPort, 100-89.
[See GlobalPort cuts KIA, giant import PJ Ramos down to size in big PBA debut]
In contrast, Meralco import Josh Davis was a bundle of energy on both ends of the floor, sparking the Bolts to an 85-74 victory over the Gin Kings.
The high-leaping Davis debuted with 25 points and 24 rebounds.
Meantime, Chito Victolero, KIA playing coach Manny Pacquiao’s lead assistant, said Ramos’ slow pace getting back on defense is not a cause for concern for the Carnival.
“Medyo naga-adjust lang siya (Ramos) but he knows kailangan din niya mag-trabaho sa depensa. Though sa height niya na iyun, maganda na rin yung quickness niya,” explained Victolero.
Defensively, Victolero expects the locals to pitch in knowing that the Bolts have a slew of gunners like Gary David, playmaker Mike Cortez and energetic forwards Cliff Hodge and Sean Anthony.
Meralco is still without Jared Dillinger who is still out with a knee injury.